Getting arrested for DUI and facing charges can be incredibly scary. You might wonder what this means for your future and whether or not you will have to go to jail. Another question that might be going through your mind is, “can I possibly get my DUI case dismissed?”
Clearly, no one wants to live with a DUI conviction on their record—and thankfully, there are situations where it is possible to get a DUI dismissed. To know if it’s a possibility for your case, you will need to consult with a DUI lawyer who can look at the details of your situation and determine if there are weak spots in the case against you.
Reasons a DUI Case May Be Dismissed
It is possible for a DUI charge to get dismissed before your trial happens. The prosecution will sometimes dismiss a case themselves if they identify problems on their side. But most of the time, DUI cases get dismissed because the defendant works with a DUI lawyer who is able to fight the charge.
Here are some common reasons lawyers use to get DUI cases dismissed.
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No Probable Cause for the Stop
In order to pull you over, detain you, or arrest you for DUI, a police officer must have what’s known as “probable cause.” That means there must be a reasonable basis for the officer believing that you were committing a crime before they can stop you, investigate, or arrest you for DUI.
If there was no valid probable cause for the officer to stop or arrest you, the evidence may get dismissed from your case. If that was the main source of evidence against you, your whole case could potentially get dismissed.
Certain medical conditions can interfere with the results of DUI breath tests, which are performed using a tool called a Breathalyzer that measures the amount of alcohol on your breath. This may be a reason to get your case dismissed if you have a condition like:
- Acid reflux
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Condition like this may “fool” breath tests into thinking there is more alcohol on your breath, which can skew the results and cause a false high blood alcohol content (BAC).
DUI Breath Tests Were Unreliable
DUI breath tests can produce false results in a variety of ways. Your lawyer may investigate and find that the results of the test were wrong due to:
- Device malfunction
- Improper use by the officer
- Failure to observe you before giving the test
- Physiological conditions (like those mentioned above)
The breath test is a very common tool for gauging someone’s BAC, but it is not always the most accurate—and errors can lead to the evidence getting dismissed.
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DUI breath tests can also pick up “residual alcohol” in your mouth that has causes other than drinking. Those could be from burping, GERD, or even dental work that trapped alcohol-soaked food in between your teeth.
Higher BAC Than When You Were Driving
When you drink an alcoholic beverage, your BAC continues to rise for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours afterward until it reaches a peak level.
If you were arrested before your BAC reached its peak, it’s possible for you to have had an alcohol content below the legal limit at the time of your arrest when you were actually driving. It was only higher when you took a test to test your BAC. This could be used as a defense to show that you were within legal limits while you were actually behind the wheel.
Inaccuracy of Field Sobriety Tests
Many police officers use field sobriety tests (FSTs) to determine whether or not a driver is impaired. However, there are issues with FSTs. Someone might fail a test even if they are sober. Common reasons include:
- Being nervous
- Uneven surfaces
- Poor footwear, such as high heels
- Being uncoordinated or clumsy
- And more
If your lawyer can demonstrate the inaccuracy of your FST, it may be enough to get your case thrown out.
A Low-Carb Diet
Surprisingly, what you eat may create a falsely high BAC. Low-carb, high-protein diets can sometimes affect the breath test. So can conditions like diabetes.
Both of these situations can produce ketones that the body creates and eliminates through the breath and urine. When they are released from your body through the breath, ketones are converted into isopropyl alcohol, which may trick a breath test into thinking you are drunk—when you actually aren’t.
Sometimes, a driver may, in fact, be under the influence but the arresting police officers were demonstrating misconduct. If your lawyer can show this was the case, it may be enough to have your charges dropped.
Police procedures must be followed at all times. If they aren’t, it may greatly help your case—whether you were under the influence or not. Your lawyer may be able to question the arresting officer and find inconsistencies in their testimony. If it’s found you were treated unfairly or the police report doesn’t match up with later accounts of your arrest, it can be crucial for your case.
These are just a few common ways a DUI case may be dismissed. If you are facing a DUI charge, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with a lawyer who takes on these types of cases to see what your options are. Don’t assume you must accept a charge until after you’ve explored all the options with an experienced legal professional.
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