Fatal Flaws In The Prosecution’s Case Can End Your DUI Ordeal Before Trial
There are several potential grounds for a DUI dismissal in Colorado Springs. Even though El Paso County prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions for those accused of driving under the influence, there are cases where mistakes by the police, fatal problems with the state’s evidence, or other circumstances may convince those prosecutors – and a judge – that the matter should not proceed to trial.
However, as anyone well-versed in DUI law will tell you, having grounds for a DUI dismissal and actually having the charges dismissed are two different things. Obtaining a dismissal requires not only having the law, the facts. and the evidence in your favor but also knowing how to persuade prosecutors that they are likely to lose.
As much as El Paso County prosecutors like winning, they hate losing just as much and would sometimes rather drop charges and dismiss a case instead of moving forward with a weak one.
Difference Between a Dismissal and an Acquittal
There are four primary ways that a criminal case can end:
- Conviction: The defendant is found guilty of some or all of the charges and is convicted after a bench or jury trial.
- Plea Bargain: Prosecutors and the defendant enter into an agreement wherein the defendant pleads guilty, usually to a lesser offense than initially charged or in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
- Acquittal: A judge or jury of peers finds the defendant not guilty of the charges after a trial.
- Dismissal: Prosecutors agree to drop the charges, or a judge concludes that the case should be dismissed before trial.
Accordingly, an acquittal is what most people (other than prosecutors) think of as “winning” a criminal case: the prosecutors gave it their best shot but failed to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
On the other hand, a dismissal does not involve a determination of guilt or innocence. Instead, a dismissal is based on flaws in the case raised by drunk driving defense counsel, making the case highly unlikely to result in a conviction.
When the court dismisses a case, the defendant is free to go, and the ordeal is over.
Here are three grounds for a DUI dismissal that an experienced Colorado Springs drunk driving defense attorney will know how to assert in their efforts to end your ordeal.
Problems With Your Traffic Stop Can Be Grounds For a DUI Dismissal
The end of a DUI case is often determined by what happens at the start of a DUI case: the traffic stop that resulted in an arrest. Problems with why and how a Colorado Springs police officer pulled you over, and mistakes or omissions they made during the stop, are often too much for prosecutors to overcome.
In Colorado, police officers cannot legally pull a driver over unless they have a valid and lawful reason to turn on those lights and make a traffic stop. If the stop itself was unjustified, then any arrest or charges that follow and any admissions or evidence the officer obtains are deemed “fruit from the poisonous tree.” El Paso County prosecutors can’t use any such evidence in their efforts to obtain a conviction, and view this as grounds for a DUI dismissal.
Even if Colorado Springs police pull you over for a routine traffic violation like speeding, running a stop sign or improper lane change, they do not automatically have the right to demand that you undergo a blood alcohol test.
Before legally administering a test, the police officer must have a reason for suspecting that you are impaired. This may be a visible open container, slurred speech, or glassy eyes. If that reasonable suspicion is missing, those test results can be deemed inadmissible.
The Officer Fails To Advise You Of Your Miranda Rights
Suppose an officer asks you questions designed to solicit incriminating statements after your DUI arrest. In that case, they must inform you of your rights under the constitution’s Fifth and Sixth Amendments before doing so. You’ve likely seen or heard this before when cops on TV or in the movies put handcuffs on a suspect and start reciting their Miranda rights with the well-known, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law,” etc.
But if the officer doesn’t advise you of your Miranda rights, anything you say can’t and won’t be used against you in court. Any incriminating statements or admissions you made without having read your rights are inadmissible as evidence. The loss of such evidence can be enough to effectively gut the prosecutors’ case, providing grounds for a DUI dismissal
Flaws With Breathalyzers and Other Blood Alcohol Tests
Like all machines, breathalyzers can malfunction and not work as they should. The same goes for Colorado Springs police officers, who can and often do make mistakes when administering blood alcohol tests. Such errors can form the grounds for a DUI dismissal when they create doubt about the reliability or accuracy of test results.
Several factors can support excluding breathalyzer test results from evidence, including:
- Timing of the breathalyzer test
- Qualifications, experience, and training of the officer administering the test
- Problems with the breathalyzer’s calibration, maintenance, or testing
- Improper procedures when administering the test
- Flaws in the chain of custody of test samples
- Contaminated samples
- Biological factors that can impact blood alcohol levels, including acid reflux, naturally occurring “mouth alcohol,” diet, and breathing patterns
You Might Like: Keeping Your License After a DUI – Must Read
Increase Your Odds of a DUI Dismissal By Hiring Experienced and Aggressive Colorado Springs DUI Defense Attorneys
Knowing whether you have the grounds for a DUI dismissal in Colorado requires the experience of a tenacious Colorado Springs criminal defense lawyer. The best defense attorneys know the weak points of prosecutors’ cases because they were once prosecutors themselves.
The Colorado Springs DUI lawyers at James Newby Law use their experience as former prosecutors to defend Coloradans facing DUI charges. As forceful and skilled advocates, they look for every possible weakness in the prosecution’s case to put their clients in the best possible position to obtain an acquittal, dismissal, or reduction of the charges.
Putting their experience to work for you is easy – it starts with your confidential, free initial consultation.