Under the law, the Commonwealth is free to refile charges that have been withdrawn or dismissed as long as the statute of limitations has not run on the case. Even if a district judge throws a case out, the prosecution can refile the charges against the defendant. Therefore, a defendant cannot consider himself “clear” of charges until he has been tried or the statute of limitations has run out.
Commentary: When dismissed charges come back
Former Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Veon was charged with engaging in conduct that creates a conflict of interest (65 Pa.C.S.A. Section 1103); theft by unlawful taking (18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3921(a)); theft by deception (18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3922(a)(1)); theft by failure to make required dispositon of funds (18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 3927(a)); misapplication of entrusted property and property of government or financial institutions (18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 4113(a)); and criminal conspiracy (18 Pa.C.S.A. Section 903(a)(1)). On May 21, 2009, a district judge dismissed the charges against Veon. Shortly after the ruling, the Attorney General’s Office indicated that it would refile the charges. Although this appears to be unfair to the defendant, this practice is common.