If you are charged with a first offense DUI, the best case scenario would involve getting the charges against you dropped. Getting the charges dropped means you won't have to go through the stress or expense of a trial. You can also try to get the record of your arrest sealed or expunged when charges are dropped, so you can maintain your clean record. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get a prosecutor to drop charges or a judge to dismiss your case.
DUI charges should be dropped if the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to move forward with a case against you, or if the prosecutor or court believes there is no probable cause to move forward with the case. You can make a motion to have charges dismissed if you believe there is no way the evidence which can be used against you could support a charge of DUI.
In many situations, however, even when the charges really should be dropped, it can take time, money, and legal expertise to make that happen. WBRC recently reported on one troubling situation in which it took a long time for a clearly innocent man in Alabama to get his DUI charges dismissed.
The man was pulled over while he was driving his car and he was asked to undergo a variety of field sobriety tests. The dash camera video from the traffic stop revealed the driver did not stumble, did not fall over, and did not otherwise show any signs of impairment. Despite performing perfectly on the tests, the driver ended up being handcuffed and taken to jail in a patrol car. A blood test was subsequently administered and it came back negative for any alcohol.
The blood test did show the driver had a prescription medication in his system. The medication had been prescribed for Asperger's syndrome and for depression. The driver's treating physician wrote a note to the court indicating the type of medication the driver was on did not affect the ability to operate a motor vehicle. The driver also insisted the medication did not cause him to be impaired.
Despite the clear evidence he was not drunk, he was pressured to plead guilty. The case ended up pending for a long time, and the man even turned to a local Alabama news station to try to help him look into the evidence of his case. The driver's girlfriend expressed frustration, saying: "Why would they continue to do this? It's been a year and a half and I can't believe we're still doing this."
Finally, the driver got his day in court. While he admitted his license plate was on incorrectly and plead guilty to a registration violation, he fought to get the rest of the charges dropped. The court finally agreed and all other charges, including the DUI charges, were dismissed. The problem is, it took over a year to clear his name and the driver will have to pay court costs, which remain undetermined. Anyone accused of drunk driving, even if it's a first offense DUI, should get legal advice right away.