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Can you get DUI/OWI charges dropped?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | DUI Defense

Drunk driving is one of the most common reasons that prosecutors file criminal charges in Louisiana. Police officers may pull people over for poor driving or perform chemical tests after car crashes. Those who display impaired driving ability on the road and those who fail chemical tests face arrest and prosecution.

In Louisiana, prosecutors bring operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges against drivers accused of impairment. Other states may refer to the same type of offense as a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Regardless of what name someone uses for a drunk driving charge, the penalties can be significant.

Jail time, large fines and driver’s license suspensions are all common consequences for OWI convictions. Many people hope to fight the charges they face, possibly by avoiding going to trial in the first place. Is it ever possible to get the state to dismiss pending OWI charges in Louisiana?

Case dismissal is a viable goal for some

Prosecutors may dismiss criminal charges when there is insufficient evidence to secure a conviction or when they have not met the necessary standard for pursuing certain types of charges. For OWI cases, requesting the dismissal of charges could be an option when there were issues with the traffic stop.

Police officers need a legal justification to pull someone over. If the traffic stop was inappropriate, then any evidence gathered during the traffic stop may not be usable during a criminal trial. The exclusionary rule allows a defense attorney to challenge the inclusion of evidence gathered illegally or through a violation of someone’s rights.

If the prosecutor cannot present the results of field sobriety tests or chemical breath tests, then they may not have adequate evidence to pursue criminal charges against a defendant. Many successful OWI defenses result in the dismissal of pending charges rather than someone prevailing against charges during a criminal trial.

Defendants who believe a dismissal could be an option in their case may benefit from discussing the details of a traffic stop at length with lawyers. Challenging the usefulness of certain evidence can, for example, be a potentially viable drunk driving defense strategy. Motorists who learn more about different defense options may have a better chance of avoiding an OWI conviction and the penalties such charges carry.