Are DUI Charges Ever Dismissed?
DUI charges are taken incredibly seriously, and for good reason. Getting behind the wheel in an intoxicated state can have severe consequences, both for the driver and other individuals on the road. In 2021, 13,384 people were killed in DUI-related crashes. And from 2012-2021, an average of 10,850 people died every year in drunk-driving incidents.
These statistics are alarmingly high. However, just because someone is charged with a DUI does not necessarily mean they will be convicted. But it can be a tough battle to win with such serious charges against you. So, can DUI charges ever get dismissed?
The short answer is yes, but it is not a simple or common occurrence. In order for DUI charges to be dismissed, there needs to be a strong defense and evidence that the prosecution cannot refute.
Understanding the DUI Process
First, it's important to understand what a DUI charge entails. When you're pulled over and charged with a DUI, it's because law enforcement believes you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. But here's the catch — just because you've been charged doesn't mean you've been convicted. There's a legal process that must be followed, and it's during this process that the possibility of dismissal comes into play.
Grounds for Dismissal
There are several scenarios where a DUI charge might be dismissed:
Lack of Probable Cause: Law enforcement needs a valid reason, known as probable cause, to stop your vehicle. If they didn't have one, or if they can't prove they had one, the case may be dismissed. For instance, if an officer stops your vehicle purely based on a hunch without any observable signs of intoxication such as erratic driving, traffic violation, or an accident, the case could potentially be dismissed due to lack of probable cause.
Improper Administration of Tests: Law enforcement officers must follow strict procedures when administering field sobriety tests and breathalyzer tests. If these procedures weren't followed correctly, the results could be deemed unreliable, leading to a potential dismissal. An example might be an officer not adequately instructing a driver on how to perform a field sobriety test or not waiting the required 15 minutes before administering a breathalyzer test. These violations of procedure can lead to the dismissal of charges.
Mistakes in Paperwork: Paperwork errors, such as incorrect information or missing documents, can also lead to dismissal. The court requires precise and accurate documentation to proceed with a case. As an example, if the arresting officer fails to correctly document the readings of your breathalyzer test or omits to mention the reason for the initial stop, the case may be dismissed due to these clerical errors.
Insufficient Evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you were driving under the influence. If they can't provide enough evidence to support this claim, the charges may be dismissed. Imagine a situation where the only evidence is the officer's subjective opinion that you appeared intoxicated, without any solid proof such as a positive breathalyzer or blood test results. In such cases, the court may dismiss the charges due to insufficient evidence.
Is It Worth It to Fight a DUI Charge?
At Moreland Law Firm, we often get asked, "Why is it worth it to challenge a DUI charge?" The answer is straightforward. A DUI isn't just a minor infraction—it's a charge that sticks with you, permanently etching itself on your background. That's why we believe it's crucial to protect your reputation and invest in challenging a DUI charge.
Understand this—challenging a DUI charge isn't a walk in the park. It requires a deep understanding of what the police officer is required to do, the field sobriety tests, blood and breath tests, and the legality of the stop and search. Needless to say, it can be a tough experience. The potential outcomes—imprisonment, hefty fines, and a lasting stain on your reputation—can alter your life significantly. That's why having a qualified and experienced criminal defense attorney is so important.
Appealing a Conviction
If you've been convicted of a DUI, it's not necessarily the end of the road. You have the right to appeal your conviction within a specified period after sentencing. The appeals process allows for an impartial review of your case and can result in a reduction or even dismissal of the charges.
Here to Fight for Your Rights
A DUI charge doesn't have to spell doom. There are legal pathways that can lead to the dismissal of your charges. But it's a complex path to navigate alone. That's why you need an attorney who's familiar with the twists and turns of DUI law.
So, if you've been charged with a DUI in or near Nashville, Tennessee, don't hesitate to reach out to us at Moreland Law Firm. We're here to help you navigate this difficult time and work towards the best possible outcome for your case. We serve clients in Nashville, Franklin, Murfreesboro, Lebanon, Columbia, and Dickson, and we're ready to serve you too.