Terminology used in the courtrooms can and does often confuse most average people. For example, a judge can dismiss a case with or without prejudice.
But what do these terms mean? Do either have any particular advantages for you?
Dismissal without prejudice
According to the Rules of the District Courts of the State of Hawaii, a court case may get dismissed by a judge with and without prejudice. If a judge decides to dismiss your case without prejudice, what does this mean? In short, prosecutors have the ability to re-file their charges.
Prejudice in this situation means that the court made some sort of ruling. The judge is not making any statements about your potential innocence or guilt in this case. Rather, they are saying that something else went wrong during the trial, such as the prosecution breaking a rule or something along those lines.
Dismissal with prejudice
When a judge dismisses a case with prejudice, this is a statement regarding legal issues and facts of the case. In issuing this ruling, the prosecution can no longer pursue their charges without violating your rights.
Most likely, if your case gets a dismissal, you want the judge to do so with prejudice. This makes it so the prosecution can no longer pursue their original charge, which is usually the harshest charge.
Prosecution may still choose to charge you with a different crime, however, which is something to stay aware of. For example, if someone faces charges for first-degree assault, but it gets dismissed with prejudice, then the prosecution may choose to charge for second-degree assault instead. In most cases, the court will allow for this charge to proceed.