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drinking and driving

Common Reasons DUIs are Dismissed in Sarasota

Published: May 19, 2019 by Erika Valcarcel

The dismissal of your DUI charge is the best possible outcome to your case, because you may be able to go free all while avoiding the time and expense of a trial. But it’s only a possibility when your DUI lawyer finds a legal reason why the prosecutor should not be allowed to bring the drunk driving charge against you. The opportunity to file a motion to dismiss happens before your trial begins, acting as a final check of the prosecutor’s case before it proceeds further in the criminal justice process.

In DUI cases, dismissals are a relatively common occurrence because prosecutors often try to use illegally obtained evidence against defendants. To succeed, you will need the assistance of an experienced Sarasota criminal defense lawyer who can intervene early on in your case to make this a possibility. There is a time limit on filing a motion to dismiss, so the earlier you retain the services of your defense team, the better your chances of achieving case dismissal. If you’re facing DUI charges, contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. today (941) 363-7900 for your free case consultation.

When Is it Possible to Request the Dismissal of Your DUI Charges?

According to Rule 3.190 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure, your lawyer can file a motion to dismiss at any point before or at your criminal arraignment–although in comes cases, the court can waive this requirement. A motion to dismiss can be filed for a variety of technical reasons, but in the context of a DUI case, a lawyer is most likely to file a motion to dismiss because the prosecutor’s evidence fails to establish a prima facie case of guilt. This means that there is not enough evidence in the prosecutor’s case for you to be guilty of a crime.

How does a prosecutor end up in a situation where there is not enough evidence to support the charges against you? Usually, this situation arises because there is an issue with the prosecutor’s evidence that your lawyer spotted and reported to the court. This procedure is called a motion to suppress, and if successful, the judge will forbid the prosecutor from using the affected evidence in their case. With this important evidence removed from the case, there may not be much else left in the prosecutor’s file that points to your guilt.

Your lawyer may successfully file a motion to suppress when the police violate your Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures, which could occur in any of the following scenarios:

  • The police stopped you without a legal basis–The police cannot pull you over just because they have a hunch that you are driving drunk. Unless the police are manning a publicized DUI checkpoint, they must actually observe you breaking the law or driving in a manner that suggests impairment. If the court agrees that the police didn’t have a good reason to pull you over, all of the evidence obtained during or because of the traffic stop may be removed from the case.
  • The police lacked probable cause to arrest you–Before taking you into custody and giving you a blood alcohol content (BAC) test, the police must observe enough signs of your intoxication to justify an arrest. Your slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, erratic behavior, and reckless driving could all be reasons for the police to reach the conclusion that you are inebriated. However, your lawyer can offer innocent explanations for these observations, such as lack of sleep or medication that you take legally. Your lawyer may also cross examine the arresting officers at the suppression hearing, and get them to admit that what they observed does not meet the threshold for probable cause. If the motion is successful, the prosecutor won’t be able to use any of the evidence obtained because of the arrest, which generally includes the results of your BAC test.
  • Improper use of BAC test–If the evidence of your BAC test is suppressed from the prosecutor’s case, there may not be enough evidence left that establishes your intoxication. You can challenge the results of the BAC test if it was not legally given to you, such as after an illegal arrest or traffic stop. But you can also fight the BAC test if there is evidence the machine was not in good working order, was not properly calibrated, or was not maintained according to procedures. If you were given a blood or urine test, your lawyer can show that the lab personnel mishandled your sample, as a result of which your test results cannot be admitted in court.

    In some cases, your lawyer may successfully suppress some of the prosecutor’s evidence, but the judge will deny the motion to dismiss anyway and let the case continue to trial. This can happen because the judge may believe that the evidence left in the prosecutor’s case still makes a prima facie case of guilt. But even here, the success of your motion to suppress gives you a much better chance of obtaining an acquittal at your trial.

    Talk to a DUI Lawyer About Your Case Today

    Your ability to obtain a DUI dismissal depends on the facts of your case, the skill of your lawyer, and how quickly you hire them after your arrest. So the one thing you can do to increase your chances of obtaining a case dismissal is to exercise your right to remain silent and call a lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest. At Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A., we are able to successfully resolve our client’s cases by intervening early and aggressively in their cases. If you’ve been charged with DUI, contact us at (941) 363-7900 for a free consultation with a Sarasota DUI defense lawyer.