Does Your DUI Case Qualify for Dismissal? – The NoVA Law Firm
If you have recently been charged with a DUI in Fairfax County, Arlington County, Loudoun County, Prince William County or the City of Alexandria, having your charges dismissed before a definitive conviction is the ideal outcome in a DUI defense trial. Being charged with a DUI is traumatic due to the penalties a conviction may entail.
However before buckling down for a long trial, consider investigating the circumstances of your case to see if it may be eligible for an immediate dismissal. By reviewing the scenarios below, you may discover that, with the help of the NoVA law firm, your DUI charges may qualify for an immediate dismissal.
Before You Are Pulled Over – A Stop Without Reasonable Suspicion
If the police officer pulled you over without a reasonable suspicion that you had actually broken a traffic or other law, your DUI charge may be deemed unconstitutional regardless of what happened after you were stopped. If you were unlawfully pulled over in Virginia, the evidence collected and used against you should be rendered invalid by a judge in a pre-trial hearing since citizens are protected from unlawful search and seizure under United States law. An unlawful stop (one that lacked specific reasonable suspicion) is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment, therefore if you doubt that the officer had justification to pull you over, you certainly may have a strong case.
The challenge however can be proving there was no reasonable suspicion, in a court of law– especially if the officer insists otherwise. If this is your situation, working with a DUI lawyer and effective negotiator can heavily factor into the outcome of your case! Unfortunately, your charges will likely proceed to trial if you were pulled over for a valid reason unrelated to your alleged level of intoxication (for instance, a broken tail light) and you were subsequently charged with a DUI. But there are still ways to win your case!
Read on, and consider discussing your options immediately with Eric Clingan of The NoVa Law Firm, an experienced, respected and knowledgeable Fairfax DUI attorney.
Issues Related To Your Interaction with the Police – Maintenance or Administration of a Breathalyzer Test
When a police officer measures your degree of intoxication, an improperly calibrated or maintained Breathalyzer Machine (often referred to as the “Intoxilyzer”) can render any BAC measurements completely invalid. Under Virginia law, you are able to refuse Breathalyzer tests! Why refuse? Consider: Virginia’s mandatory minimum jail sentences for DUI are largely dependent on the Breathalyzer’s result. For example, a result over .15 BAC requires a minimum mandatory 5 days in jail; a .21 BAC (or higher) requires a 10-day minimum mandatory sentence.
If you refuse the Breathalyzer, though, the court will have no way to determine your BAC and, therefore, the minimum mandatory jail sentences will not apply. Keep in mind, though, that if the court finds that at least 51% of the evidence from the police officer’s investigation indicated that you were “probably” DUI (also known as “Probable Cause”), then the court can suspend your driving privileges for 12 months. This is a civil (not criminal) penalty, though.
If you refused a Breathalyzer test, contact a DUI attorney immediately so you can build a strong enough case to preserve your driver’s license privileges in Virginia.
After the Incident – The Police Officer Failed to Follow Up on Your Case
A breach in police protocol and procedures can occur at any stage once you have been charged with a DUI. Do not despair! An inexperienced or careless police officer can (and often will) make a number of mistakes related to your rights to due process following the incident. Some of these mistakes which can result in a dismissal of your DUI charge in a court of law, can include:
- The officer did not correctly or comprehensively prepare his police report
- The police officer’s testimony in court was incomplete, inaccurate or untruthful
- The police officer did not follow correct procedures required for an accurate Breathalyzer test
- The police officer or another essential witness such as the Breathalyzer Technician does not show up for your hearing (Admittedly, this happens very rarely in Northern Virginia)
- The police officer does not remember the details of what happened in your case