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Can a Driving Under the Influence Case Be Dismissed?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ. | Feb 17, 2022

Of course, the answer to this question is yes, it can.  But, don't be fooled by these attorneys who are claiming they can dismiss DUIs at will because most of the time, if you get arrested for a DUI, you're going to have to deal with it.  It's not just going to get dismissed.

As you probably know, California, in particular, takes DUI charges very seriously. Politically speaking, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other organizations, including the California Highway Patrol, have much political power related to DUIs.

So, it boils down to whether the prosecutors can prove the case against you.  It's pretty simple what they have to prove, and that is, your blood alcohol level at the time of driving was a .08 or greater, and then it will be assumed that you could not safely operate a motor vehicle.  That's just the general situation as it relates to DUIs.

DUI in California - Vehicle Code 23152 VC

California Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC is the statute that makes it a crime for someone to drive a vehicle under the influence of any alcoholic beverage. If you have symptoms of intoxication, you can be arrested and charged under this statute even when there is no evidence your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) exceeded the legal time of 0.08%.

After you take a breath test or blood test that shows your BAC was 0.08% or higher, then you will usually be charged under two different statutes:

  • Vehicle Code 23152(a) VC – driving under the influence, and
  • Vehicle Code 23152(b) VC – driving with excessive blood alcohol level.

If you are convicted of violating both laws, it will only be considered one California DUI conviction. In some DUI cases, a jury decides the outcome, but there are many ways to beat driving under the influence. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will review this topic further below.

What are the Best Defenses for DUI Charges?

The best defense strategy to fight a Vehicle Code 23152 driving under the influence charge will depend on various factors. Every drunk driving case is unique, and you need to remember that getting arrested for DUI does not automatically mean you will be convicted of the crime.

Driving under the influence conviction often leads to life-changing consequences, such as a driver's license suspension and a criminal record for future employers to see on a background check. Some of the common best defenses against DUI charges include the following:

Unlawful Police Stop
  • unlawful police stop;
  • lack of a probable cause;
  • improper procedures by a police officer;
  • unreliable field sobriety tests;
  • violations of your constitutional rights;
  • violations of California Code of Regulations Title 17;
  • inaccurate blood alcohol content (BAC) results;
  • inaccurate breath alcohol testing results;
  • medical condition resulted in a high BAC;
  • rising blood alcohol concentration.

Law enforcement officers failing to follow proper procedures is usually a solid defense strategy against California Vehicle Code 23152 VC charges. Misconduct by police includes a lack of probable cause to conduct a traffic stop and violating Title 17 procedures and regulations which control how DUI breath and blood tests have to be undertaken, such as:

  • a 15-minute observation period,
  • proper administration of the tests,
  • regular calibration and maintenance of the testing equipment, and
  • proper collection and storage of blood samples.

If your protections were violated, we could ask the court for a suppression hearing defined under California Penal Code 1538.5 PC to exclude any evidence the police obtained. If our motion is successful, the prosecution is usually forced to reduce the DUI charges or dismiss the case entirely.

Convincing a Prosecutor or Jury to Dismiss a Drunk Driving Case

So, DUIs can be dismissed, but understand what that means that first the case was filed, because if they arrest you and your attorney gets ahold of them and convince them not to file the case or they decide on their own not to file the case, then there isn't anything to dismiss because they never filed it.

Los Angeles DUI Attorney

If they file it, that means they saw something that they believed amounted to a DUI.  When I say they, it's the filing prosecutors — the ones that look at cases all day long and make decisions on whether or not they can prove the case.

So, if we're talking about a dismissal, that means a case has been filed — a DUI — and your attorney is going to have to go in there and either convince the prosecutors to dismiss the case, or they're going to have to convince a jury to find you not guilty.

So, be leery when attorneys start talking about this whole dismissal concept.  Ask questions.  In other words, if someone's telling you something, you're going to have to ask them, okay, why?  If you think you can get my case dismissed, explain why.

My blood alcohol level was .12% BAC.  I was pulled over for whatever reason, and now I have a court date.  How are you going to get my case dismissed?

Initial Review of Your DUI Case

When you come to the Hedding Law Firm, and you meet with me regarding your DUI, I'm going to tell you the truth.  I'm not going to blow smoke and tell you, oh yeah, your case is going to get dismissed if you retain us.

No, we're going to talk about your case.  We're going to see what evidence they have, and if they don't have the evidence to prove the case against you, then we're going to have to sit down and come up with a game plan so that we can resolve your issue and that's not going to be by way of a dismissal.  That's going to be by way of a negotiated plea.

So, if you want the truth, if you're going to get your DUI case taken care of the right way, pick up the phone.  Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.  I've been doing this for 30 years have handled thousands of DUIs just like yours. Our law firm is based in Los Angeles County, and we offer a free case consultation.

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About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

Ronald D. Hedding, Esq., is the founding member of the Hedding Law Firm. Mr. Hedding has an extensive well-rounded legal background in the area of Criminal Law. He has worked for the District Attorney's Office, a Superior Court Judge, and as the guiding force behind the Hedding Law Firm. His multi-faceted experience sets Mr. Hedding apart and puts him in an elite group of the best Criminal Defense Attorneys in Southern California.