Client always asked me at our first consultation, whether or not it is possible to get the their recent DUI case dismissed. I provide each client with an honest answer, that is, it depends. The law requires that for a driver to be convicted of a driving under the influence charge, certain legal requirements must be properly proven.
Regardless of a drivers blood alcohol level at the time that they were stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, the police must legally justify a traffic stop by specifically identifying the vehicle code violation committed by the driver which gives rise to a lawful stop. This critical foundation is known as the principle of probable cause. Essentially, every DUI stop is required to have sufficient probable cause, or legal reason.
The absence of probable cause requires dismissals are granted, when it is determined by a prosecutor, judge, or jury that the officer lacked probable cause to justify a stop. Our firm recently represented a client who was stopped by the police for driving without his rear license plate illuminated. The driver was arrested for DUI because he had a blood alcohol reading of .18, over two times the legal limit. This case was ultimately dismissed on a defense motion when the driver and two passengers contested the police allegation regarding the light.sThe judge determined that the officer lacked probable cause to stop the driver because he believed that there was in fact a working license plate light as testified by the driver and his witness/passengers.
Another powerful argument for dismissal can be based upon the fact that although the breathalyzer machine that the driver was tested on appeared to be working, the maintenance and accuracy records obtained through subpoena showed a different story. A careful review showed a flawed and questionable accuracy of the machine that tested our clients breath for alcohol content. These independent maintenance and accuracy records showed an unacceptable percent of error uncovered by an independent agency trained to determine the accuracy of all tests performed by the police department.
A drivers blood alcohol level is the cornerstone of the prosecutor’s case. When this essential building block, it determined to be unreliable, it creates an irreparable flaw in the states case which ultimately leads to a dismissal by the prosecutor.
The above reasons, are but a few of the challenges that are put to the prosecutors, making them prove their case by justifying that the police be held to the highest constitutional standards of law.