DUI Charge Dismissal
Nobody wants to face the harsh penalties of a DUI conviction. However, getting a DUI charge in Scottsdale dismissed or reduced can be difficult. The best hope for a dismissal is to hire an experienced DUI lawyer to review your case for legal and factual issues that may support getting the charges dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense.
For example, if the DUI attorney in Scottsdale can argue to get key evidence suppressed, the prosecutor will likely have no option but to dismiss the DUI charge.
Reducing a DUI Charge
If you are looking to have a DUI charge reduced, there are a number of factors to consider.
Several ways an attorney can help you get your DUI charge dismissed or reduced. Each DUI case is unique, so it’s advised to consult with a criminal defense lawyer near you about the specific facts of your case. But, here are a few common grounds for a dismissal:
A. Invalid or Unconstitutional Traffic Stop
In order for a police officer to lawfully pull over a vehicle, the officer must have reasonable suspicion of a crime taking place or violating a traffic law.
If the officer doesn’t have a valid legal basis for the traffic stop, a Scottsdale DUI attorney can move to suppress any evidence obtained as a result of the unlawful traffic stop. This can include the results of any chemical tests; also, any field sobriety tests you may take. Moreover, even your words to the police officer.
B. Challenging the Field Sobriety Tests
Another possible option to get a DUI dismissed is to raise a legal challenge to the administration and validity of the field sobriety tests (FSTs). Arizona Police officers primarily use three different FSTs to assess whether there is probable cause to believe a motorist is operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol:
- Horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) commonly referred to as the “pen test,”
- The walk and turn (WAT), and
- The one-leg stand (OLS).
Although the accuracy of these tests to determine sobriety is subject to scrutiny, the tests are subject to human error. A few ways your Scottsdale DUI lawyer may be able to challenge validity of the tests includes an examination as to whether the:
- Tests administered in poorly lit conditions or on uneven pavement,
- Driver was a proper candidate for the tests (proper attire, physical limitations, other medical issues), or
- Officer failed to properly explain the test instructions.
As for the HGN test, there are several alternative explanations for involuntary eye movement other than alcohol that a Scottsdale DUI attorney can argue undermines the legitimacy of the test, usually during cross examination of the officer who administered the test.
C. Chemical Test Results
An experienced DUI attorney in Scottsdale will always look to challenge the accuracy of the scientific testing used to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration. For example, a DUI attorney can challenge whether the Breathalyzer machine underwent proper maintenance and calibration.
In cases of a blood draw, a DUI defense attorney will look to see if the person who drew you blood was a trained phlebotomist. They will also check whether the state can establish a proper chain of custody for your sample. Additionally, they will explore other issues like of contaminated blood samples or improper storage.
These are just a few of the possible ways that your blood or breath alcohol results (BAC) can be either thrown out (and your DUI case dismissed). Or, at least called into question, thereby weakening the prosecution’s case against you.
D. You Weren’t in Actual Physical Control of the Vehicle
A necessary element of a DUI charge? You were in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while impaired to the slightest degree or with a BAC greater than 0.08%. Whether you were in “actual physical control” is determined by looking at the “totality of the circumstances.”
A court will look at things like:
- Why the police pulled the driver over.
- The location of the vehicle at the time law enforcement arrives.
- The state of the vehicle at the time .
Many times police arrive on scene after the vehicle stopped. At this point they no longer have sufficient information to determine who was driving and when.
No actual physical control can be an effective DUI defense. There are situations where the prosecution may not be able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that you were the driver or driving at the time of the alleged DUI. Contact a Scottsdale DUI lawyer to examine your situation and assess whether this is a valid defense in your case.
Benefits of Reducing a DUI Charge?
Arizona’s tough DUI laws come with harsh penalties. Resolving the case with a non-DUI offense will remove the mandatory requirements of a minimum jail sentence. It also removes the requirement for installation of the ignition interlock, and DUI-specific fines and fees. Moreover, having a DUI or DWI conviction on someone’s criminal record can create issues with current or potential employment, state-issued licenses, or housing. Additionally, a DUI conviction will likely result in higher insurance premiums.
Best Scottsdale DUI Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge in Scottsdale, contact an experienced DUI defense attorney familiar with Scottsdale DUI courts. Our team of skilled DUI lawyers understand a DUI charge is stressful. We take pride in helping you through the complex legal process. Contact the Lerner and Rowe Law Group today at 602-667-7777 to schedule a free consultation. Also, ask about affordable payment plans for those facing a DUI charge.