Can Drunk Driving Charges Be Dismissed?
Attorneys specializing in DUI Charges in Michigan. Aggressive and experienced attorneys who will tirelessly and fearlessly fight for your rights!
Attacking the Basis of the Traffic Stop, the Arrest, or the Administration of Field Sobriety Tests
Attacking the basis for the traffic stop, the arrest, or the administration of field sobriety tests can result in the dismissal of OWI charges or give the prosecutor the impetus necessary to agree to a reduction in charges to reckless driving or maybe even a civil infraction. If you want to get drunken driving charges dismissed, you will want to work with a highly experienced, respected OWI defense law firm.
Many of the officer’s initial impressions of you will be made before he pulls you over. If you are driving in what he subjectively believes to be an unsafe or suspicious manner, the officer may decide to arrest you or subject you to field sobriety tests before a fair and balanced investigation is conducted. At the very least, the officer’s observations and impressions may be skewed against you based on his initial gut impression of a situation.
A good Michigan OWI attorney can use this bias to show that the officer was predisposed to arrest you. When it can be shown that, objectively speaking, the basis for the stop, arrest, or administration of field sobriety testing was not sufficient, the judge may dismiss all charges. This happens more frequently than many would expect.
“Can working with a well-known, respected, and effective Michigan DUI Attorney help? If so, how?”
There are many ways an excellent, retained lawyer can help you achieve a result superior to the one that may result with a less experienced or specialized lawyer. One of the major ways relates to challenging the traffic stop or arrest. Imagine this scenario: two lawyers (Lawyer A and Lawyer B) file motions challenging a traffic stop based upon due process and request dismissal or suppression of evidence. The motions and facts in each of the cases are identical. The motion could go either way based on the facts and law applicable to the scenario. In other words, whether a dismissal is appropriate is a close call.
Lawyer A is a very experienced DUI lawyer with a track record for successfully beating drunk driving cases at trial and motion. Lawyer B is a lawyer who has been practicing for 15 years but is mainly known to plead his clients guilty. Furthermore, Lawyer B also handles immigration and family law cases and is known as a specialized expert DWI defense attorney.
Multiple things give Lawyer A an advantage in their attempts to get drunken driving charges dismissed, and thus, their client has the ultimate chance of achieving a more successful result. The prosecutor is far more likely to settle with Lawyer A. Given that the result could go either way, the prosecutor may want to try to salvage some type of result other than a dismissal. Because he believes Lawyer A has a greater chance of achieving dismissal, he will be more likely to offer some extraordinary plea bargain to avoid submitting the motion to the judge for a decision. Lawyer B, who is not known for winning, is not a credible threat, and the prosecutor will not be worried about the result going against him at the motion hearing.
If the motion does go to a hearing, Lawyer A has a greater chance of winning the motion on the merits because he is more likely to be familiar with the nuances of the law, the most effective way to argue the facts, and he probably is most familiar with the judge’s propensities.
After a hearing, the judge is more likely to favor Lawyer A. When viewed by a judge, many cases have facts that can be interpreted differently. If Lawyer A is known for going to trial and winning, this will be a significant incentive for the judge to grant the motion. If the motion is denied, there is a good chance the judge will be caught up in a trial (as opposed to relaxing and handling overdue projects), and there is the chance for an acquittal. Judges hate acquittals!
In summary, the better the lawyer – the better the chances of a superior outcome in your case.
Other Things to Consider Regarding Seeking Dismissal of Drunken Driving Charges
Speeding, in and of itself, does not mean you are operating while intoxicated. In many cases, the officer will state that he pulled you over for speeding. This simple fact could be favorable to you. Careful questioning of the officer and prosecutor in your case could demonstrate that driving a car takes more skill and control when it exceeds the speed limit than moving at a slower pace. If the posted speed limit is designed for safe travel by “sober” drivers, then exceeding that speed requires even more care and caution and is, therefore, a strong indicator that your speed was not affected by your drinking.
Furthermore, driving under the speed limit indicates someone operating while intoxicated because it is a sign the driver is consciously trying not to attract law enforcement. Stone sober people speed every day. Your Michigan DUI lawyer should question the officer and prosecutor in a way that proves that speeding alone proves virtually nothing.
Other alleged signs of drunk driving can be discredited, as well. If, for example, the officer indicates that you were swerving or “all over the road,” you should once again question why the officer did not immediately arrest you for operating while intoxicated. You should once again criticize the officer’s decision to follow you rather than immediately stop your “erratic” behavior. Was he concerned about the safety of other drivers? Decisions by the officer to allow your driving to continue for a period of time only shows that your driving was not so dangerous that it required your immediate stop and arrest for DUI. If the way you drove at the time of your arrest is safe enough to be observed by the officer for a period of time, it is also safe enough to discredit any wrong assumptions the officer made about how your drinking affected your ability to drive safely.
Dealing with drunk driving cases can be seen as tedious due to the time it takes to effectively collect the necessary information and evidence to prepare a solid defense case. If some of the evidence favors the defense, the prosecutor and police will make it hard to find or worse. Only the most experienced OWI defense attorneys will know how to protect and preserve the evidence favorable to the defendant. From the discovery phase to the trial, each portion is equally important when trying to get drunken driving charges dismissed.
Is getting drunken driving charges dismissed really possible?
Complete dismissals of drunken driving charges are not common, but they happen more often than many would believe. For a case to be completely dismissed, some exigent circumstance must be present. Generally, these circumstances will present themselves in the form of improper police conduct, errors in the investigation by law enforcement officials, or malfunction by the technology used to analyze blood or breath. Mixing in outstanding legal representation and an effective presentation of equitable circumstances will increase the chances of getting drunken driving charges dismissed or extraordinary charge reduction.
Charge Reductions – Careless Driving and Reckless Driving
Another option, which can be an alternative to outright dismissal, is getting the DUI charge reduced to another offense type. The most common alternatives to a DUI conviction are reckless driving or careless driving. If the defense attorney can convince the prosecutor that there is insufficient evidence to achieve a DUI conviction, they may negotiate for a guilty plea to a lesser charge. While there are no sure-fire ways to avoid DUI convictions, certain factors increase the odds of a plea bargain to a reduced charge. The more factors that may be present, the greater chance you have of a pre-trial settlement.
Here are a few examples:
- Questionable blood test results
- Questionable breathalyzer results
- Questionable urine tests
- Driving that is not obviously impaired
- Lack of or deficient video surveillance
- Passenger statements that support the defense
- Behavior at the time of the investigation, arrest, or booking that is not consistent with intoxication
- Questionable, rude, or offensive police conduct
- Much more
If you would like a free consultation with a criminal lawyer whose practice is dedicated to the zealous representation of those charged with alcohol and substance abuse-related charges, please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. We handle DUI, OWI, and all drunk and drugged driving cases in Oakland County, Wayne County, Washtenaw County, Macomb County, and throughout Southeastern Michigan.
Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.