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Is There a Chance the Prosecutor Will Dismiss My DUI Case?

  • By: Ron Hedding
  • Published: April 15, 2020

What is the Likelihood the Los Angeles Prosecutor Will Dismiss My DUI Case?

This is a big question that I’ve got from clients over the last 26 years of representing thousands of people charged with DUI’s and the question is one that makes sense if you don’t really know anything about the criminal justice system.

Realize that if you were arrested by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) for example, which probably most of the arrests are made but some are made by LAPD or the sheriffs.  The bottom line is, all those agencies, especially the CHP, are trained on how to properly arrest somebody and how to not mess the case up.  So, if you’ve been arrested they’ve probably got something on you.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve seen a lot of dummy stuff going on by the police.  I’ve seen a lot of cases that I’ve been able to intervene prefiling and avoid a filing on the case.

Mainly because my client was able to give me some good information that I could pass on to the prosecutors who are lawyers like me and we can avoid the case even being filed.  That’s not a dismissal.  That’s a non-file, even better than a dismissal.  You don’t want to have a case filed against you in the first place.

Blood Alcohol Level

But the reality is, the DUI is not going to be dismissed because if they arrested you and your blood alcohol level was a .08 or greater, prosecutors are going to prosecute you in Los Angeles. Is There a Chance the Prosecutor Will Dismiss My DUI Case?

It’s a very political crime.  California probably has the worse and most heavily prosecuted DUI system in the nation, so they’re going to prosecute you.  They’re not going to dismiss the case.

To get a dismissal, you’re going to have to be found not-guilty.  You take the case to trial.  Obviously, you want to make sure you get an attorney who has experience who can be truthful with you.

One who will really tell you whether or not you have a chance to get a dismissal in the first place or whether you’d just be wasting time and money and risking a much more harsh punishment than if you would have just worked out a deal with the prosecutors.

Defenses to DUI Charges

So, if you want to get a dismissal, you need an angle.  What are examples of angles?  I can tell you.  Let’s say the police can’t prove when you were driving the vehicle.  Let’s say you weren’t one of those dummies that tells them, yeah I just crashed here on the side of the road ten minutes ago and you give them everything.

Let’s say that you’re outside the car and the police grab you and you don’t do or say anything that makes it clear if you were driving and you don’t do or say anything that makes it clear when you were driving.

This is crucial  because if they can’t prove when you were driving, how do they know what your blood alcohol was at the time of driving?  Think about that.  So, that might be a case where you can get a dismissal if you have the right circumstances.

But again, use common sense  If it’s clear you were the one driving even if you weren’t driving when the police got there, then you’re going to probably lose that case.  You have to talk it over with your attorney to be able to make a decision whether or not the driving-related issue is one you can win the day with.

Maybe in that circumstance, it can go either way, you can get the DUI dismissed and plead to a lesser charge, so that’s a possibility.  That’s one area to attack if you want to get a dismissal.

California Vehicle Code 23152

Another area is obviously your blood alcohol level.  If you were a .07 and they filed against you — and they do that sometimes — you might be able to get a dismissal because you’re not a .08 so they can’t go under Vehicle Code Section 23152b.

They’re going to have to go under Vehicle Code Section 23152a, which basically says — I’m paraphrasing now — give you the juice and the meat of the section where you can argue and that is, did you have alcohol in your system and could you not safely operate motor vehicle?

So, even if you blew a .06 or a .07 they could still prosecute and I’ve seen them prosecute people in the San Fernando Valley.  I’ve seen them prosecute people in downtown Los Angeles and the west side on those facts if they have other circumstances that prove they couldn’t safely operate a motor vehicle.

For example, let’s say you’re swerving all over the road.  Let’s say you’re going 100 miles an hour.  Let’s say the beautiful thing for the police and prosecutors is, you get in an accident.  That definitely shows you can’t safely operate a motor vehicle unless the accident wasn’t your fault.  I’ve had situations like that as well.

So, they’re really going to look at what the circumstances of your particular case were when deciding whether they’re going to dismiss it.  When I say they, I’m talking about the prosecutor because they’re the ones that are tasked with dealing with these cases.

They’re going to figure out, can we win the case or not?  Because if we can’t win the case, we’re not going to get embarrassed.  We’re not going to waste the time and resources necessary to prosecute a case, put a court in trial for three to four days.

Lawyer Who Knows How To Win DUI Cases

I’m going to tell it to you straight.  I’ve been doing this a long time.  I know how to win cases.  I know what cases are winnable.  If you want to know a case that’s winnable and you can assess this yourself, if you look at everything neutrally and you say to yourself, this is not fair.  I don’t know why this person is being prosecuted for a DUI, now you start to get yourself in a position to say, maybe we can win this case.

But if on the other hand, you’re driving and your blood alcohol level is like double the legal limit, .16, and you’re driving around and the police pull you over, you’re going to get charged with that.  They’re not going to dismiss it.

You’re going to have to have some angle to beat it in front of a jury and a jury is just citizens.  They’re going to be told what the law is and they’re going to have to follow the law.  The judge will order them to follow the law.

So, if you’re driving and you’re over a .08, then they’re supposed to convict you for that, unless your lawyer can come up with some argument that somehow bodes that conviction by using jury instructions, a case law, common sense, whatever the case may be.

So, if you want that evaluation I can give it to you.  This is my career.  This is all I do is handle criminal cases and I’ve handled thousands of DUI’s.  I wrote a book on the topic.  You can get it for free.  You can buy it on Amazon.

You can get a tape of it.  It kind of talks about the basics of DUI’s, but I’m willing to talk to you about it.  If you’re a legit client, you need help and you’re looking for answers, pick up the phone and make the call.  I’ll make it fast and easy for you.  I’ll tell you what I think and we’ll play it from there.

Ron Hedding

About the Author Named Top Los Angeles DUI Defence Attorney by LA Times and named one of the Top 100 DUI Defence attorneys in California by the National Trial Lawyers Association. I'm the attorney other lawyers hire to defend them.