I believe that the key to getting a DUI dismissed is persistence and tenacity. You have to fight. You have to push forward. You cannot simply sit back and let the State Attorney's Office call the shots. You must be aggressive in your approach.
One of the greatest tools available to a DUI attorney is the DUI administrative hearing that takes place at the DMV office. This is a vital part of the process, and one that must be set within ten (10) days of your DUI arrest.
At the administrative hearing (which is necessary if you wish to keep your driver's license), your DUI attorney will have an opportunity to cross-examine the police officer who pulled you over. If the administrative hearing officer does not find probable cause for the DUI, your driver's license will be returned to you. Not only is this step vital because it may permit you to retain your driving privilege, it allows your DUI attorney to get valuable sworn testimony from police officers who may later testify in court. It allows a DUI attorney to find out information about your case otherwise unavailable before trial. It also allows me to impeach an officer later if he or she changes their story during trial. The DMV hates when we defense attorneys use administrative hearings as officer depositions, but you know what? I'm not in this business to make friends with the DMV. I'm in this business to win cases.
Motions are another tool we DUI defense lawyers have at our disposal. The right legal motions are essential to either a breakdown to reckless driving (the second best outcome in a DUI case), or complete dismissal of the case. DUI motions are not boilerplate, but are born of legal knowledge and creativity. Every DUI case has legal issues. It doesn't matter if a dozen officers pulled you over, you failed the roadside tests, and submitted to a breath test. There are legal issues, from how and why the officer stopped you, to whether you were appropriately read your Miranda rights. A good DUI attorney will know what to look for, and will file the relevant motions.
With these DUI motions, the Court will assess the legality of the stop, the breath test, the refusal...whatever. If the Court finds that the accused's constitutional rights were violated, the Court may order a vital piece of the State's case suppressed (excluded). This may be the breath test results, the refusal, or even the results of the roadside tests (field sobriety exercises). In that situation, the State may be forced to offer a breakdown to reckless driving, or even dismiss the case. If the Court finds that the traffic stop was unlawful, the Court will dismiss the DUI.
Another way to get a DUI case dismissed is to set the case for trial. In Miami-Dade and Broward, misdemeanor trials (yes, DUI is a misdemeanor but a serious one at that) require that all of the State's witnesses appear in Court on the morning of trial. In felony trials, the witnesses are usually on standby (they do not have to come to Court until they are called to testify), but misdemeanors require that all witnesses check in with the Court the morning of trial. If essential witnesses fail to appear, whether civilian or officer, the case will likely be dismissed.
Since there are rarely depositions taken in misdemeanor cases, many times, the prosecutors don't know who the essential witnesses are until the morning of trial. Shrewd DUI attorneys who do their jobs well will know ahead of time who the State needs in order to prove their case. As a former Miami-Dade prosecutor, I believe that I have a distinct advantage in this area.
DUI cases require certain witnesses. One of those witnesses is known as a "wheel" witness. This is the person who can testify that the accused was driving or was in actual physical control (in the driver seat) of a car. Without this witness, it is nearly impossible for the State to prove a DUI.
Many times, prosecutors assume that their police officer witnesses observed the accused person behind the wheel of their car. However, they can also be wrong. Many times, especially in the case of traffic accidents, police officers arrive after the accident has happened. They may show up to the scene and the accused is standing outside of his or her car, and the engine has been turned off. In this scenario, no police officer can say for certain that the accused was driving. The only witness may be a civilian. If that civilian fails to show up for Court, the State will likely have to dismiss.
There are many strategies to employ in a DUI case. As a Miami and Broward DUI lawyer, and former prosecutor, I believe that I possess the experience and knowledge regarding how to best prepare a DUI defense in order to attain the best result: a dismissal. Call me today to discuss your DUI.