How Do I Get My First DUI Dismissed in California?

How Do I Get My First DUI Dismissed in California?
Christopher J. McCann

Many people concede defeat the moment they are arrested for a DUI. Being handcuffed, booked into jail, and having your driver’s license confiscated can make the ordeal feel hopeless. Many defendants who were charged with a DUI ultimately have their charges dropped, however. With the right help, there is always hope. You may wonder, “How do I get my first DUI dismissed in California?” Understanding the answer can help you move forward with confidence.

How Can My DUI Charges Be Dismissed?

Being arrested for a DUI does not mean that the district attorney’s office will move forward with the case. A prosecutor may examine the evidence and determine that there is not enough evidence to do so. If the state does not move forward with a case, it may be dismissed. The state has the burden of proving that a defendant committed the crime they are accused of. Often, they are thinking about how a jury might view the evidence.

Blood Alcohol Test Results Show Low or No Levels of Alcohol

The prosecutors may decline to move forward with your case if the evidence is compromised or limited. One example may be blood alcohol test results that come back with results that you did not exceed the legal limit on the day you were arrested. If enough time passes, as set out by the statute of limitations, then the state may not be able to bring charges forward.

Even when field sobriety test results appear to show high levels of alcohol, your lawyer can question how the test was administered. This can weaken the state’s case against you. The testing equipment is required to be recalibrated at certain intervals of time. If the equipment was not properly maintained, your lawyer should have further grounds to call for your case to be dismissed.

Initial Stop

Your DUI defense attorney can be a valuable resource for finding ways to have your charges dismissed. One of the first areas that your lawyer can look at is the initial stop. The Fifth Amendment provides robust protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

If the police had no reason to pull you over, the stop may be seen as unlawful. A constitutionally compromised case can be thrown out. Even if the case goes to trial, those serious violations can influence the jury’s views.

Medical Conditions

How sober you appear at the time of the arrest is a factor that is considered by the courts. DUI charges can come from drug use as well as alcohol. If you have a valid prescription for a drug that is known to cause drowsiness, that could be grounds for having your case dismissed. Certain medical conditions can make someone appear intoxicated when they are not. Your lawyer can explore the possibility of using medical conditions as grounds for having your case dismissed.

Any of the factors above can be brought up with the prosecutor, who has wide discretion over what charge, if any, you will face. If the state has a weak case and you are willing to complete certain programs, there could be a path toward having your charges dropped.

Reduced Charges

Even when you cannot have charges dropped, your attorney may be able to have the charges or potential penalties reduced. One example would be having your charge reduced to reckless driving. This often happens through a plea bargain agreement. In this agreement, the defendant agrees to accept a lesser charge in return for lower penalties. Accepting a plea bargain agreement means that you will not have to worry about the uncertainties of going to trial.

Your attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain agreement if you:

  • Have no prior convictions
  • Did not hurt anyone when driving under the influence
  • Had a low Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) when you were arrested

Any of these mitigating circumstances could allow your Yorba Linda DUI lawyer to negotiate a favorable outcome to your DUI criminal charge.


Q: Can a First-Time DUI Be Dismissed in California?

A: Being a first-time defendant is not grounds by itself for having your case dismissed. The courts will consider the evidence at hand and factors that are considered aggravating or mitigating. It is possible for a first-time DUI case to be dismissed, but that will require the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney who can research the facts of the case before forming a legal strategy to have the charges dropped.

Q: What Percent of DUI Cases Get Dismissed in California?

A: The California DUI Management Information System found that the conviction rate for DUI in California is around 72%. This rate is much lower than many other crimes. Roughly three out of 10 Californians charged with DUI were not convicted of the crime. Because the burden is on the state to prove that someone was under the influence of a drug or alcohol, there are multiple defenses that an attorney can use to help their clients get their DUI case dismissed.

Q: How Do You Beat a DUI Case in California?

A: The ideal way to beat a DUI case in California is by hiring an experienced defense attorney. Each case is different, and an experienced DUI lawyer can formulate a strategy that works in your favor. For some cases, that may involve a straightforward approach to questioning the evidence, while other cases may require a novel strategy that is rarely used. Even if you believe you did not commit a DUI, having an attorney on your side can make a huge difference.

Q: Is It Worth Fighting a DUI in California?

A: It is almost always worth fighting a criminal charge. Defendants are presumed to be innocent until they are proven guilty, and many are never proven guilty. The burden is on the state to prove someone’s guilt. It is advisable to put up a legal fight and not make their job of proving your guilt easier. You have every right to vigorously fight for your rights and interests in court.

Schedule Your DUI Consultation Today

Being charged with a DUI does not mean that you are guilty. The State of California has a high bar to meet when proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime with which you are charged. Any missteps that police and prosecutors make along the way can strengthen your case. An experienced DUI defense attorney understands constitutional protections and case law pertaining to the Fifth Amendment.

If your rights were violated or if the evidence does not support the allegations, the Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann, APC, can fight to have your charges dropped. To begin the process of fighting your charges, contact our office today.

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