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Could Your DUI Case End Up Being Dismissed? If So, Why?

One of the best possible outcomes that you can hope for in a DUI case is to have the case dismissed because that ends the possibility of some serious long-term consequences that come with a conviction. What are some of the reasons a DUI case can end up being dismissed? What are the odds that this will happen? 

Some of the Reasons for Dismissal

Police officers have to have a good reason, or probable cause, to make a traffic stop. They can't engage in a "fishing" expedition just to try to find drunk drivers. Your attorney will likely ask questions of the arresting officer, wanting to know what first drew the officer's attention to you and what made him or her suspect that you had been drinking.

Many times an officer will point to highly subjective things for both. For example, if you ran through a red light, that's a fairly concrete reason to pull someone over. However, if the officer says that you were "driving erratically" or "took a turn too wide," that's somewhat subjective. You can expect your attorney to ask the officer to explain in detail exactly what those terms mean. If there's no corroborating evidence, like dash-cam evidence from the police cruiser, it's possible that the judge or jury may agree that there was no good cause for the stop.

Similarly, there has to be a reason for an officer to demand a breath, urine, or blood test from you. If you admitted to drinking earlier that evening, perhaps with dinner, then the officer had a valid reason for asking you to submit to the test. However, a more subjective reason would be something like saying your "eyes were red" or your "face was flushed," since those could indicate anything from fatigue to a head cold.

Likelihood of a Dismissal

Studies indicate that dismissal rates vary greatly depending on where you live and what gets counted as an actual dismissal. For example, actual dismissals may be as low as 1.5 percent of arrests. However, Connecticut cited a 50 percent to 70 percent dismissal rate from 2000 to 2011 because the state counted first-time offenders who were allowed to complete a course in lieu of going through a formal criminal conviction and punishment. If you look at the rate of drunk-driving convictions for cases that proceed to trial (or end in a plea deal), some areas of the U.S. were as low as 63 percent while others soared at 95 percent.

This means that the sooner you get a DUI attorney to help you, the better your potential outcome. Always keep in mind that it isn't a crime to refuse to answer an officer's questions about whether or not you've been drinking—and you can ask for an attorney such as Jeffrey D. Larson, Attorney at Law even from the side of the road.