DUI cases are not easy to get dismissed. The statistical data regarding dismissals is cloudy and seriously in need of updates and improved accounting. But every year, a percentage of DUI cases are dropped or dismissed by California courts.
If you were arrested for driving under the influence, you can become part of these dismissal statistics, but you need to contact a Los Angeles DUI lawyer. A DUI can be complex, and you will need an experienced advocate to represent you and your rights.
The Never-Ending Confusion of DUI Dismissals
Over the 100-plus years since the first American DUI cases, statistics have been spotty, involving charges being dropped or dismissed or defendants being acquitted. Various sources relate to a spectrum of data, but much of it seems to contradict each other. In 2009, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released data from the National Judicial Reporting Program, showing the percentage of obtained DUI convictions between 1997 and 2006 ranged between 75% and 85%.
The same data revealed the percentage of DUI convictions in California was 90% in 2006. In some California counties, the conviction rate was down 63%, and in others, the rate went up to 95%. There is recorded data that has the dismissal rate for DUI cases at less than 2% and at more than 10% in other counties, though the data appears to be unclear about what occurs in the remaining percentages of cases.
According to the 2019 report from the California Driving Under the Influence Management Information System (DUI-MIS), 123,548 DUI arrests were made, with 4,944 arrested for Felony DUI in 2016. Out of the more than 120,000 arrests, 98,430 resulted in DUI convictions. The arrest-to-conviction percentage was 72.6%, deducing that 27.4% should be 2016’s combined dismissal and acquittal percentage.
Culling the numbers by cross-referencing these various reports seems to fall in line with the professional consensus that California’s combined DUI dismissal and acquittal rates range from 20% to 30% over the last 10 years.
The Infinite Probability of Outcomes
This wide gap in the percentage of dismissed or acquitted DUI cases falls back on a multitude of variables. There does not need to be an unlawful arrest or illegally gathered evidence for there to be a dismissal, but these reasons do help the case along. A few of the most common of these reasons for dismissal include:
- Weak or insufficient evidence presented to prove impairment
- Strong legal strategies or negotiations concerning reducing charges or plea bargains
- Specific policies or practices of the court system in various jurisdictions
- Improper police procedures like unlawful stop or lack of probable cause
- Unreliable field sobriety tests
- Inaccurate breathalyzer reading or blood alcohol content (BAC)
- Not accounting for medical conditions causing drivers to look impaired or raising BAC
- Errors made by the prosecution
- Violating the defendant’s constitutional rights
One of the leading reasons for dismissal is probable cause—the initial motive for a police officer to pull over a vehicle and administer a sobriety test. Since the arrest did not occur as a result of a legal roadblock where everyone is essentially pulled over, can the officer provide valid reasoning for the traffic stop that led to the arrest?
Finding Distinctions in the Common
In the United States, DUI arrests make up 10% of all criminal arrests, more than all violent crimes combined. Annually, the law enforcement of Los Angeles County makes more than 36,000 arrests for driving under the influence, which is more than 100 daily arrests.
With numbers like this, individuals can get lost. But every DUI case has distinctions and unique situations. An arrest for DUI should not be treated as if it will ultimately end with a conviction and punishment.
A DUI conviction can alter a person’s life, take away freedoms, and permanently mark records that may damage careers or potential employment plans. Families have been ruined due to wrongful convictions.
Dismissal or Acquittal
When a DUI case is dismissed or acquitted, there should be no more threat of harsh penalties, sanctions, and strikes on criminal records. Some misdemeanor DUI cases can cost in the thousands, and that does not account for the inconvenience and time expended for hearings and trials.
If the case is settled with a plea deal and not a dismissal, or the jury never issues a not guilty verdict, the arrest will still appear on records, and the state still has the option to suspend the driver’s license. In cases like this, the defense attorney usually files a motion, asking the judge to dismiss the case.
Contact a DUI Lawyer in Los Angeles Today
A DUI conviction can be an uphill battle. In order to achieve a dismissal, acquittal, or to get the case dropped, a Los Angeles DUI attorney will need time to plan an effective legal strategy. That is why anyone arrested for driving under the influence should contact a lawyer immediately.
An experienced DUI attorney can be an advocate, a defender, and a navigator when the legal territory gets treacherous and you need protection from all of the ramifications attached to DUI cases. For more information or to speak with an attorney, please contact us online or call us.