There are many consequences of a DUI conviction, ranging from the inconvenient to the more serious. If you’re convicted, you may be looking at a loss of driving privileges, and mandatory rehab program attendance. During your suspension, you probably won’t be able to drive, and afterward, the price of your auto insurance might climb considerably. You could also be hit with fines and penalties like a jail sentence. You may find that a DUI conviction has a negative impact on your travel, employment, and social prospects too.
Because the repercussions of a DUI conviction can be so serious, it’s always worth exploring whether you can get your case dismissed or the charges reduced. There are several ways to make that happen - but the reality is that you likely need the services of a top-class DUI lawyer. For example, do you know how a plea-bargain works?
There are many details and technicalities that accompany DUI regulations. Fortunately, experienced representation can guide you through the legal process and may be able to increase your chances of a more positive outcome. You could represent yourself or take a chance on being allocated an outstanding public defender, but many people prefer the personal representation of an experienced DUI lawyer.
It’s important to remember that if you manage to get your DUI case dismissed, there may be other complications. You could face civil prosecution and the arrest will still stay on your record, which could cause difficulties down the line.
To learn more about getting a DUI case dismissed and what to do once that happens, keep reading.
A surprising number of DUI cases are dismissed before going to court or are subject to reduced charges. There are essentially three ways to dismiss a DUI case:
Before your case goes to court, you may be able to get the prosecutor to drop it. Maybe the cops who arrested you failed to follow proper procedure or didn’t have sufficient grounds to stop you on suspicion of DUI, or used a faulty breathalyzer. There are all sorts of reasons why a prosecutor might drop or reduce a charge, but because every case is unique, you need an expert legal professional to advise you.
It’s rare for a judge to dismiss a DUI case after it’s come to court, but it does happen. A judge may spot something that the prosecution has missed or may feel that the arresting officers didn’t have sufficient reason to stop you. However, your best chance to get a DUI charge dismissed is to act long before the case reaches court.
Any person charged with a misdemeanor or felony in California is entitled to a trial by jury, which applies to a DUI charge. The jury must reach a unanimous agreement for you to be found guilty. You can take a chance that the jury will believe your story over that of law enforcement officers - perhaps the reason they stopped you was motivated by racial profiling, for example. But if you're going down this route, you need the best legal support you can get, and you also need to be aware that a jury might still find you guilty regardless.
When you’re arrested for DUI, you face several legal proceedings and administrative processes, including a criminal court case and a DMV hearing. The court case decides whether you’re innocent or guilty, whereas the DMV hearing concerns your license and driving privileges. The court is about the legalities of your case, but the DMV hearing is about administration and the potential suspension of your driving privileges until the court case happens.
From the moment of your arrest, you (or your lawyer) only have ten days to request a DMV hearing. If you miss that deadline, your license is automatically suspended. By attending the DMV hearing, you may be able to keep some driving privileges until your court case. An additional benefit is that you may learn details that can help you in your court case.
This question is possibly the wrong way round. Your DUI court case is unlikely to be dismissed before your DMV hearing. However, your court case could be dismissed as a result of the findings at your DMV hearing. That’s why it’s so important to have a legal professional at your side to represent you at a DMV hearing.
Why would you hire a lawyer for your DUI and DMV hearings? Well, first, they know how the process works and will make sure you don’t miss any crucial deadlines like requesting a DMV hearing. Second, they have extensive experience in many DUI cases, so they have a detailed knowledge of what defenses do and don’t work.
Third, they provide practical and moral support: a DUI charge and a court appearance can be a lonely and scary experience, so it’s good to have someone on your side. And finally, with their extensive knowledge of DUI law, they may be able to get your case struck out or your charges reduced via a plea-bargain.
Because the consequences of a DUI conviction are so severe, you should always do everything in your power to avoid or reduce your charge. You could try and fight the charge yourself, take a chance that you’re assigned a reliable public prosecutor, or hope that a judge or jury believes your version of events.
The best option is to employ a top-class DUI lawyer and get the backing from quality experience, knowledge, and expertise to get you through the whole process and potentially improve your chances of a positive outcome.