Are DUI Charges Ever Dismissed?
Sept. 29, 2023
Many people charged with DUI in Colorado ask the question, “Can my DUI charge be dismissed?” The answer is that they can, but it’s not often. In 2020, conviction rates were nearly 87% for underage DUI, 78% for DUI, and nearly 98% for driving while impaired (DWAI).
The ramifications of a conviction on any of these charges are far-reaching. That means hiring a DUI attorney to represent you who knows how to challenge them may be your best hope at avoiding a conviction, even if the odds aren’t in your favor. Moreover, if you are convicted, you may be able to expunge it from your criminal record in time.
I know that people are convicted of DUI charges more often than not, but that does not mean I don’t approach every case looking for ways to help my clients avoid one. If you have been charged with DUI or a related offense in Boulder, Louisville, Bloomfield, Longmont, or Lafayette, Colorado, let me try to help you beat the odds.
What Is the Exclusionary Rule?
The exclusionary rule is the first place to look for a defense against DUI charges. It is related to your 4th Amendment protection against unlawful search and seizure.
The exclusionary rule defense alleges that law enforcement had no lawful reason to stop you in the first place. If you had broken no driving laws and demonstrated no inability to safely operate your vehicle and the officer pulls you over, the stop itself can be challenged. If challenged successfully, every piece of evidence obtained as a result of that stop, including breathalyzer, urine, or blood test results, cannot be used against you and the charges will be dismissed.
What Other Reasons Can My Attorney Use in My DUI Defense?
A criminal defense attorney will explore a range of potential defenses that might provide evidence or create doubt in the charges brought against you. Here are five possible reasons for a Colorado DUI dismissal:
The law enforcement officer can make factual errors before, during, and after the stop. For example, the citation may have incorrect information about the time or location of the stop, your name, license information, insurance information, and observational comments that run counter to the facts.
Chemical test results can be challenged on a number of grounds. Testing equipment must be rigorously maintained with records proving it. The person administering the test must observe a waiting period, be trained to use the equipment, and administer the test according to stringent requirements. Moreover, results can be skewed by factors such as what you had to eat or drink, medications you’re taking, and medical conditions you may have.
It is true that you can be charged with DUI in Colorado even if you were not actually driving a vehicle at the time. If you had the intent to drive, that can be enough. That said, these circumstances leave room for misidentification of you as the driver or potential driver of a vehicle.
The legality of the stop itself can be challenged and if successful, the exclusionary rule will apply.
Field sobriety test performance can always be challenged. First, you are under no obligation to comply with a request to perform field sobriety tests. Refusing to take any of these cannot be used as evidence against you. The officer’s assessment of your performance can be used against you, although it lacks reliability. Also, factors such as rough ground, dark roadways, flashing lights, and physical limitations can all skew results.
Can My DUI Charge Be Expunged?
You may be wondering if, after getting a DUI charge, "Will it ever get off my record?" Even if you aren’t convicted of DUI, the arrest will remain on it as a matter of public record.
Colorado law does not provide for the expungement of criminal charges and convictions. However, after a period of time, you can ask the court to seal records pertaining to the arrest, dismissal, or a finding of not guilty, which takes them out of the public purview. You cannot seal a criminal conviction.
How an Attorney Can Help
A seasoned DUI defense attorney is your best opportunity to challenge any element related to your DUI charges. If your attorney can do so successfully, you can avoid a criminal conviction on your record, along with the penalties that accompany one.
Seek Your Best Outcome
If you have been arrested for DUI, let me help you pursue the best legal outcome possible. I will leave no stone unturned in looking for ways to challenge the charges. I can’t do it successfully in every case, but I have in some. Perhaps yours is the next one.
Call Watkins Law Firm LLC in Boulder, Colorado, now. Let’s talk about opportunities before you just accept the consequences of a DUI incident.