Whether it’s with my own clients or answering questions on DUI law forums, people always ask whether it’s possible that their case will be dismissed.
In short, yes, a person can get a case dismissed. Is it likely? Unfortunately, not.
I’ve been a DUI attorney for quite a while now and I can say that many prosecutors would rather go to trial and lose than to outright dismiss a DUI even if their case has holes in it. If the prosecutor budges at all, it’ll be with a reduction to a lesser crime such as a “wet reckless,” a “dry reckless,” or an exhibition of speed. But don’t expect the prosecutor to just dismiss a charge.
Remember, it doesn’t take a prosecutor much to prove a DUI case. They either need to prove that a driver was above a 0.08 percent blood alcohol content or that a person was “under the influence.”
If a driver is above a 0.08 percent, then the prosecutor has everything they need to convict. Even if there are problems with the chemical test, be it a blood test or a breath test, the prosecutor would rather take the case to trial and leave it to the defense to dispute the test results than to dismiss the case. Although the law requires that the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that the driver was above a 0.08 percent beyond a reasonable doubt, when it comes to DUI’s, that simply isn’t the case.
Even if a driver is below a 0.08 percent, as long as the prosecutor can prove that the driver was “under the influence,” they have what they need to convict. To prove that a person was under the influence, the prosecutor might introduce the driving pattern of the defendant, the performance of field sobriety tests, or the arresting officer’s observations of the driver. Even if there are few facts to suggest that the driver was “under the influence,” the prosecutor would rather take the case to trial and leave it to the defense to try and argue that there isn’t enough evidence to suggest that the driver was under the influence.
Not all hope, however, is lost, which is why hiring a DUI attorney is of the utmost importance after a DUI arrest. Although an outright dismissal is unlikely, if there is a possibility of a dismissal, the attorney will push for it. If a dismissal is not a possibility, a DUI attorney should fight for the best possible outcome which may include a reduction of the penalties or the charges themselves.
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