DC DUI Motion to Dismiss

In a DC DUI case, judges will not make any ruling as to the factual merits of a DUI until a trial has happened where each side, the government and the defense, have had an opportunity to present the witnesses and have those witnesses subject to cross-examination.

Only after a judge has heard testimony will the judge entertain a decision as to whether the government has met its burden of proving a defendant guilty of driving under the influence beyond a reasonable doubt.

With that said, there are circumstances in which a DC DUI attorney can file a motion to dismiss a DUI prior to the judge hearing the factual merits of the DUI case.

Filing a Motion to Dismiss

The most common situation in which a defense lawyer might file a motion to dismiss a DUI prior to the trial is if there have been procedural or constitutional violations by the police or prosecutors that warrant such a dismissal of all or some of the charges.

As an example, if a defense lawyer makes a request for certain pieces of evidence that the defense believes is in the possession of the prosecutor, then the defense may be able to ask the judge to dismiss the case if the prosecutors failed to either turn over that evidence in a timely manner or failed to preserve that evidence so that it then can be turned over to the defense.

Dismissal of the case may not be what the judge ends up doing and the judge may decide to impose a lesser sanction such as throwing out certain evidence or preventing the prosecutors from calling certain witnesses. The most severe sanction that a judge could impose for procedural or constitutional violations by the prosecutors or law enforcement could be dismissing the entire case.

Examples of When a Motion May be Filed

A defense lawyer would file a motion to dismiss a criminal case if there is a basis to argue that a violation by the prosecutors or law enforcement agents have deprived the defendant of their right to a fair trial.

A lawyer would not file a motion to dismiss on the grounds of insufficient evidence.  Only after the government has presented evidence at trial would a defense lawyer be able to argue for acquittal on the grounds that the Government has not provided the evidence sufficient to prove a defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

But if there is an argument to be made that there is no possible way to have a fair trial as a result of discovery violations or constitutional violations, then that might be a situation in which a defense lawyer would file a motion to dismiss the case.

What is Included

In a motion to dismiss a case or charge, a defense lawyer would need to lay out a legal basis for why dismissal is the appropriate remedy for a procedural or constitutional violation by law enforcement or prosecutors.

The defense lawyer would need to include laws, prior court rulings, or procedural requirements that would back up that argument as well as the facts to be able to substantiate how those laws will be applied and the defendant’s circumstances.

The defense would also need to argue why lesser sanctions such as throwing out evidence, preventing certain witnesses from testifying, or delaying the case to allow the prosecutors to remedy the violation would not be appropriate sanctions as opposed to the dismissal of the entire case.

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