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Three Ways to Resolve a DUI Case in Arizona (Part 3 of 3: Dismissals)

In our last two blog entries, we discussed two ways that a DUI case can resolve in Arizona: (1) through a plea agreement or (2) through a trial. Now we will discuss the third way: through a dismissal of the case.

What is a Dismissal of a DUI Case?

There are numerous reasons why an Arizona DUI case can be dismissed altogether, and we will discuss some of them below, but first we must discuss what a dismissal of a DUI case means.

A dismissal of one's DUI case in Arizona generally means that the case ends and closes, no matter what stage of proceeding it is in. Once a Judge orders that the DUI case is "dismissed," all work stops, and it is over. Although either the defense or the State (or both) may ask the Court for a dismissal of the DUI case, the Judge must be the one to issue the order to dismiss the case.

However, one must understand that there are two types of dismissals in Arizona: dismissals "with prejudice" and dismissals "without prejudice."

A dismissal with prejudice is the best kind of dismissal, and is less common, as it means that not only is the case over, but the State cannot bring those charges again. The case is closed completely, with no possibility of it being re-opened. However, a dismissal "without prejudice" means that although the case is now closed, and the work on it stops, the State would be allowed to bring the case again, within a certain time frame. Thus, the prosecutors can reinstitute the DUI charges, so long as their time limit to bring it again has not expired.

However, it is important to note that even when a case is dismissed "without prejudice," the government does not have to re-open the case. It is up to the prosecutors whether they want to re-charge the DUI case or not.

How a Dismissal of an AZ DUI Case Happens

There are many reasons why a DUI case could get dismissed in Arizona. One example is when the DUI defense attorney negotiates a dismissal from the prosecutor, usually through correspondence and meetings about various issues in the particular DUI case (such as problems with the evidence, issues with the facts, etc.). This is one reason that a DUI defendant in Arizona needs a skilled DUI defense attorney on their case, as that attorney may uncover serious issues with the State's case against the client, and may be able to get the prosecutor to ask the Judge for a dismissal of the case.

Another way a case may get dismissed is if the defense wins a Motion to Suppress Evidence (which is a motion that the DUI defense attorney would file based on some violation of the DUI defendant's rights by the police, for example), and the Court orders that certain evidence be "suppressed" and cannot be used by the State against the client at trial. Although the Court is not ordering a dismissal, the prosecutor may decide to ask the Judge for a dismissal, if some of the State's crucial evidence (like, say, the BAC of the defendant) cannot then be discussed or used at trial.

Overall, there are numerous other ways a dismissal may come about in a DUI case, and an experienced Arizona DUI defense attorney can evaluate your case, and attempt to earn a dismissal of the case in various ways.

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