Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are serious criminal charges. If you are found guilty, you will likely be imprisoned, fined, lose your right to drive, and face other consequences. You may be required to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on your vehicle. An IID tests your breath before and while you’re driving for evidence of alcohol. A DUI or DWI can even affect your ability to work or find a place to live.
The ideal resolution of a DUI or DWI charge is to obtain a dismissal. A dismissal means that the criminal case against you will stop immediately. A DUI/DWI dismissal can be initiated by the Calvert County prosecutor or by the judge assigned to your case.
Why would a prosecutor decide to dismiss the DUI/DWI criminal complaint?
Normally, once the prosecutor files a DUI charge, they will continue to prosecute the charge until the judge assigned to your case rules on the merits of your case or until there is a jury trial.
Still, the prosecution may realize through our skilled advocacy that their case is too weak to prosecute. Some of the reasons the prosecutor may decide your case is weak are:
- It is clear that the police officer did not have grounds to stop you – that the stop and any tests given to you violated your search and seizure rights under the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution
- The police cannot show that they administered the field sobriety tests, breath tests, blood tests, or urine tests properly.
- The police cannot show that the breathalyzer test was properly and timely calibrated – that the test results are unreliable
- You have a valid defense such as medical evidence that explains why our blood alcohol content (BAC) level was too high
- The police officer simply isn’t available for the trial
The prosecutor also may decide, based on our arguments, that justice would be better served by dismissing the DUI or DWI charge in return for a plea to a lesser offense such as speeding or another traffic violation.
Why would a judge decide to dismiss the criminal DUI/DWI complaint?
Normally, the judge will consider a dismissal at the following times:
- A formal motion to dismiss. We may file a formal motion based on:
- A defect in the prosecution
- Failure of the prosecution to show the court has jurisdiction or the failure to charge an offense
- An unlawful “search, seizure, interception of wire or oral communication, or pretrial identification”
- An admission, statement, or confession was unlawfully obtained
- A motion to suppress any evidence that is unreliable for other reasons such as a breathalyzer device that wasn’t properly calibrated
- A request to dismiss the charges during the trial of your case based on many different types of legal and factual arguments
When considering whether to grant a dismissal, the judge assigned to your case will consider many of the same arguments we often present to the prosecution – and any new arguments that arise.
Some of the reasons that a judge may dismiss your Maryland DUI or DWI charge are:
- The court doesn’t have jurisdiction. For example, you don’t actually reside in Calvert County and the road where the officer observed you wasn’t in Calvert County.
- The prosecution can’t show that you were the person who was driving the car prior to your DUI/DWI arrest.
- Your right to a speedy trial was violated.
- The prosecution cannot show that the police had grounds to believe you were reasonably intoxicated immediately prior to your arrest.
- The prosecution failed to provide evidence that the defense is entitled to such as information about the breathalyzer machine.
- The chain of custody of any blood tests was broken – which means the prosecution can’t show that they had custody of the breath test results or any other evidence the police took – from the time the evidence was possessed until the trial date.
- The statute of limitations for filing a DUI or DWI case has passed.
- The police failed to follow procedures. The prosecution needs to show that any tests you were given were administered properly. If, for example, you refuse to take a breath test, the police do need to inform you about the consequences for failing to take the test before they can use your refusal in court.
Additional dismissal considerations
As an alternative to a dismissal, the prosecutor can request and the judge can approve a Probation Before Judgment (PBJ). A PBJ means that you are placed on probation before there is any trial and before there is a conviction. If the judge enters a PBJ, you can honestly say you weren’t convicted. Employers, landlords, and other members of the public will not see a DUI/DWI conviction on your record – because, again, you haven’t been convicted. We’ll explain the qualifications for a PBJ. Generally, you can’t have a prior DUI/DWI in the past 10 years.
If the case against you is dismissed with prejudice, then the prosecution cannot refile the charges against you. If the case against you is dismissed without prejudice, then the prosecution can likely proceed if there is new evidence – depending on the reason for dismissal and other factors. In most DUI/DWI cases, if the charges are dismissed by the prosecution, they’re not refiled. Our criminal defense lawyer will explain the full consequences of any dismissal.
If the charges are dismissed; then employers, landlords, and others who search your public record should not be able to find any evidence of your arrest or the legal circumstances after the arrest on your public record. We’ll explain your right to obtain an expungement to ensure the police, law enforcement, and members of the public cannot use any information about your arrest – after a dismissal – against you.
Please note that even though the criminal case against you is dismissed, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) has separate authority over your driver’s license. The MVA could, for example, suspend your license because you refused to take a breathalyzer test. If you need your driver’s license for work, school, family, or pleasure; we’re ready to help you assert your rights at the separate (from the criminal case) MVA hearing.
If you were charged with a DUI or a DWI anywhere in Calvert County, our skilled criminal defense lawyer will work to obtain a dismissal, an acquittal, or a plea bargain. We’ve helped many defendants just like you preserve their freedom and keep their driving privileges. Carey Law Office has locations in Dunkirk, Bowie, Crofton, and Owings. Call us or contact us now to schedule a consultation. We also serve Calvert County.
My name is Joe Carey, and I am the founder and principal attorney of the Carey Law Office. I have lived in Maryland my entire life. I grew up in a small town in Prince George’s County and, with the help of my partner in life, Nancy, I raised my family here: three exceptional children (a son and two daughters), and two goofy, spoiled black Labrador Retrievers. Learn More