Investigation and defenses to a DUI charge

As discussed on the overview, the prosecutor will not reduce your DUI charge just because you are a nice person or have no criminal history. The prosecutor must be convinced that there is an evidentiary issue on the case. An effective DUI investigation includes obtaining all the police reports, videos, photographs, 911 calls, and breath test documents for the case and reviewing these records to determine if there are any issues with the case. Your attorney should interview the officer who made the stop and arrest, as well as any other police officers involved. If there were civilian witnesses, they should be interviewed as well. The attorney may make public records requests or get the court to sign a subpoana duces tecum to obtain other potentially exculpatory evidence. For breath tests, the Washington State Patrol puts a tremendous amount of information on their Impaired Driving Section-Discovery Materials Site. Your attorney should review these documents for your particular test, and determine if there are any anomalies.

Although infrequent, occasionally, a court will dismiss a DUI charge based on an evidentiary issue. For instance, if the police officer did not have a legal basis to stop or arrest the individual, the entire case could be dismissed. Rather than have the charge completely dismissed, what is more common is that the court suppresses a piece of the prosecutor’s evidence. The lost evidence may make the prosecutor’s case more difficult to prove, and therefore, prompt the prosecutor to offer a more favorable resolution to the case. A thorough investigation is a critical component to an effective DUI defense.

Up next, the pre-trial hearing.

Go back to the arraignment hearing.