Dismissal rates for DUI charges and subsequent DUI convictions vary substantially from state to state. Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, When will the prosecutor dismiss my DUI charges and not prosecute me for driving under the influence of alcohol?
Police lack probable cause to make the DUI stop
There are a variety of reasons the DUI charges may be dismissed. The most common reason is the police officer lacked probable cause to make the traffic stop. Probable cause, however, may not be that difficult to prove.
For instance, if a police officer witnesses any illegal action including speeding, running a stop sign, erratic driving, or driving with a broken taillight they have probable cause to stop your car. If during the stop there is any evidence you are intoxicated- a distinct smell of alcohol or blood shot eyes- they may ask you to complete a breathalyzer or field sobriety test.
If the officer does not have a solid, legal reason for stopping your car or they do not appear at your hearing the case against you could be dismissed. If the officer does not appear at the hearing and the time limit between your arrest and hearing has already reached the states legal limit, your case could be dismissed. Otherwise, it may simply be rescheduled.
Your Miranda Rights were not read to you
Another reason your case could be dismissed is if your Miranda Rights were not read to you. Police officers do not, however, have to read you your Miranda Rights at the time of your DUI arrest. Many people have a misguided idea about this process, most likely from watching too many cop shows. According to the 1966 case Miranda v. Arizona, a police officer has to read you your rights before they interrogate you.
These warnings are intended to protect you against self-incrimination. But they only have to be read if you are under arrest and the police officer is going to conduct a custodial interrogation (meaning you are in police custody). If you are not in custody and the police officer is not interrogating, you the police have no need to advise you of your rights.
State lacks evidence for DUI charges
The prosecutor may also decide to dismiss the DUI charges if they do not believe they have enough evidence to convict you for DUI. For instance, if the state does not have any physical evidence, including a chemical test of your blood, urine or breath or you passed the field sobriety test, they may decide they cannot win their case.
Does the state have to have chemical evidence to convict you for DUI? No, the state could also have enough other types of evidence such as witness testimony, your own testimony, and their own observations to convince the judge or jury you were intoxicated and not able to safely operate your automobile.
So will you have your DUI charges dismissed? Talk to a DUI lawyer and have them review the DUI stop, whether the officer had probable cause to make the DUI arrest, whether your blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, and other evidence the state has against you.