Getting a DUI Case Dismissed at the Preliminary Hearing
A Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney who understands DUI law and the process that DUI cases go through is an asset to anyone facing DUI charges. He is often able to get charges reduced or dismissed before the case goes to a jury.
A preliminary hearing is the first step after a DUI arrest. When a Driving Under the Influence case gets to a preliminary hearing, the district court judge is looking at the police officer’s case against the driver, to see if there is a “prima facie case” that has been made. Prima facie is a Latin term for “at first look” or “on its face.” This means that the judge is looking to see if the cop had an actual reason to suspect a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The first thing he will look at is to see if there was a traffic violation that led to the stop. He needs to see that there is enough actual evidence produced by the arresting officer to proceed to trial.
The next thing the judge will look at is probable cause. Probable cause means that the police officer had reasons to suspect you were drinking and driving. This is a right given to every citizen in the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Probable cause can be as simple as the smell of alcohol on your breath. If he does not have probable cause (reason to suspect) that you were drinking and driving, your arrest was illegal, and your charges will be dropped.
The next thing the judge will look as is implied consent warnings. Did the officer who stopped you remind you that you gave implied consent to field sobriety tests and blood, breath, and urine tests at the time you accepted your driver’s license?
If any of these three things are missing, the judge can dismiss DUI charges. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is not the standard for a preliminary hearing. The purpose of this first hearing or set of hearings is to determine if the DUI arrest was warranted and legal, and if there is enough evidence to take it to trial. Nothing regarding guilt or innocence must be proven at this stage.
Sean Logue and his associates at Logue Law Group have gotten many DUI cases dismissed at the preliminary hearing level. In each case, the officer either had no reason to pull the client over, or no reason to arrest him for DUI.
Often, charges are reduced or dismissed when the defense attorney asks for a hearing waiver. For example, if the DUI is a second-tier level charge, which means the BAC was 0.10 to 0.159 percent, the cop may agree to drop the charge to a first-level DUI, which means the defendant’s consequences won’t be as harsh.
Another time this might happen is in the case of a first-time DUI offender who is eligible for ARD (Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition). Upon successful completion of the program, the charges will be dismissed, and the offender is eligible to have it wiped completely from his criminal record (expunged).
Have you been stopped for Driving Under the Influence and arrested? Are you facing a preliminary hearing? If so, you will need an experienced DUI attorney to represent you. The Logue Criminal Defense team has successfully defended many clients at preliminary hearings, getting their DUI charges dropped. Logue Law Group serves the Pittsburgh, PA area, as well as West Virginia and Ohio. Call today for a free initial consultation: 1-844-PITT-DUI or (412) 389-0805. Or, you may contact us online.
Don’t wait to call! Driving Under the Influence charges have very serious consequences. If you wait until after your preliminary hearing to hire representation, you are losing out on an opportunity to get your case dropped before it has a chance to start. Sean Logue and his associates are waiting to help you out of this potentially sticky situation. Call today!