Why Would a DUI Case Be Thrown Out?
The ideal situation for any individual who is facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge would be for that case to be thrown out and the arrested person walking away free and clear.
While it can seem like a pipedream, certain situations do exist where this event does happen. This brings the question of why would a DUI case be thrown out?
Lack of Reasonable Suspicion
By law, the police must have reasonable suspicion that a person has done something wrong before pulling them over.
This level of reasonable suspicion must be more than just a small hunch or based on mere random selection. The police officer must have witnessed something under traffic law that would give cause for them to pull over the driver.
There are numerous factors based on the driver’s behavior that can rise to the level of reasonable suspicion. . For instance, is the driver swerving the car along the road? Did they fail to use headlights or turn signals? Did the driver break any type of traffic laws or commit a traffic violation?
If it is found that the police officer stopped someone improperly, based on an improper roadblock or based on discriminatory conduct, that stop may lack the reasonable suspicion foundation.
A police officer may not just pull someone over to merely check his or her driver’s license and registration. Rather, an actual traffic violation or suspicion of crime must exist or have taken place.
The police officer can also not simply stop a car without being able to reasonably identify that car as the one who committed a traffic violation.
In addition, the police officer must be right about their interpretation of the law when making this decision to stop the vehicle. It cannot be based on the officer’s misperception regarding a violation of the law.
If an individual is arrested, the officer must follow legal protocol when making the arrest. For instance, the officer must have probable cause to make the arrest, and he or she must read the arrested party his or her rights. Facts giving reason to believe that an arrest was improperly made could also result in the charges being thrown out.
It is for this reason that it is important to discuss the facts behind the arrest, including the events that took place leading up to the stop and the arrest, with an attorney to see if these grounds exist. If the court believes that the police officer lacked reasonable suspicion to pull over the driver, the DUI charge may end up being thrown out as a result.
Improper Breathalyzer Technique or Analysis
One of the main components behind a DUI charge is the breathalyzer test. This device is used by a police officer to test the individual’s blood alcohol content (BAC) based on his or her breath.
However, like so many technologies, the machine can malfunction and can provide faulty readings. For the machines to be reliable, they need to be maintained properly. The officer must also be trained in using them for the results to be accurate.
If it is discovered that the readings came back as a result of the equipment malfunctioning, the DUI charges may be able to be thrown out successfully. Additionally, if the officer did not properly administer the test or read the results, this evidence could also be a successful defense in getting the case dismissed.
It is important that an attorney review the results carefully to see how the test was administered and how the results were read to make this determination.
Driver’s License Suspension Proceedings
After an individual is arrested for a DUI, his or her driver’s license will also face suspension proceedings on an administrative level by the Department of Licensing (DOL).
It is helpful to have legal representation for both proceedings because of the rights involved.
If the individual is successful in fighting the administrative proceeding and avoids a license suspension by the DOL, this fact could be very helpful in getting the criminal case dropped as well.
The legal standards in the administrative case are significantly less than a criminal matter, and it is likely the prosecutor will see this and will not want to pursue criminal prosecution if the administrative case went in the defendant’s favor.
Keep the prosecution apprised of what is going on in the administrative case, especially if the defendant is successful in keeping his or her license.