Getting charged with a DUI does not mean you are guilty.
If you are facing DUI charges, there are chances that your DUI case can be dismissed. Consult with an experienced attorney about your unique case to see what opportunities you have to get the case dismissed or reduce your punishments if convicted. Here are the most common ways a DUI case can be dismissed.
Errors in Blood or Breathalyzer Tests
A great example of why you should hire an experienced lawyer for your DUI case is because they will be able to examine blood or breathalyzer tests that were conducted. Experienced DUI attorneys know what to look for and can determine whether proper procedures were followed.
One of the reasons DUI cases can be dismissed or your case can become much more defendable is when the breathalyzer was not calibrated properly, or improper procedures were followed during the test.
Breathalyzers must be calibrated and checked for accuracy regularly. If not, they could be determined inadmissible in court. The most well-known case of this happening was related to the Draeger 9510 Alcotest, in which 27,000 notices were sent out by the Massachusetts Trial Court because in part of improperly calibrated tests. The actions of the Office of Alcohol Testing continue to result in convictions being overturned.
In addition to improperly maintained breathalyzers, police officers administering the test much be certified to do so. The results of a test administered by an uncertified officer can suppressed in court and not admissible at trial.
Certain health conditions can also impact breathalyzer and blood test results, leading to a false positive. The most common health conditions affected by these tests are gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and diabetes.
Through the Fourth Amendment, a police officer must obtain a search warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement must be found before searching a person's property. This also applies during a traffic stop, where it is illegal for an officer to search your car or even cell phone without a warrant or an exception to the warrant requirement.
In DUI/OUI cases in Massachusetts, a case can be dismissed or severely weakened if a police officer searches your vehicle, even if they do manage to find incriminating evidence against you without a warrant or limited exceptions to the warrant requirement.
If your vehicle is searched depending on the circumstance, the evidence could be surprised and not admissible against you at trial.
Unlawful Traffic Stop
An officer must have reasonable suspicion before pulling you over. This means that an officer must have more than just speculation. They will have to provide what facts or circumstance led to them pulling someone over. For example, if the person was speeding or swerving on the road, they could pull a driver over and further interaction could lead an officer to have suspicion that the operator was driving under the influence.
Unlawful traffic stops can result in an entire case being thrown out, regardless of incriminating evidence found during the traffic stop. Some examples of unlawful traffic stops include:
- No reasonable suspicion
- Race, gender, or other discrimination
- If they pulled someone over just based on a hunch
- Anonymous tips
Any of these reasons and more are unconstitutional and a violation of your rights.
Consult with your attorney if you suspect that you were unlawfully pulled over, which resulted in your DUI charge.
DUI/OUI cases can be dismissed if sobriety checkpoints are conducted illegally or in an unconstitutional manner. Roadblocks and sobriety checkpoints can only stop vehicles based on a previously devised plan.
Similar to unlawful traffic stops, roadblocks/sobriety checkpoints must be conducted through neutral guidelines planned ahead of time. In addition to this, the public must be given advanced notice for sobriety checkpoints.
Failure to inform the public of a sobriety checkpoint can result in any case from that checkpoint being dismissed.
Checkpoint sites are selected based on areas where previous accidents and unsafe driving incidents occurred, or where drunk drivers have previously been arrested. These areas are considered “problem areas” and the sobriety checkpoints serve to protect the safety of drivers on the road in those areas.
How an Attorney Can Help a Case Get Dismissed
Experienced attorneys have worked on plenty of DUI/OUI cases before and know the laws that both drivers and police officers must follow. When they review your case, they will be able to spot any reasons that your case may have to be dismissed or evidence suppressed.
It is an experienced attorney's job to know all of the reasons why a DUI/OUI case can be dismissed. Hiring an attorney for your case, no matter how minor or major it is, can save you from harsher punishments or long-term consequences that will impact your life.