The percentage of driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving under the influence (DUI) charges that get dismissed at the starting block varies widely from state to state, when the information is available at all. Available statistics are usually for convictions; this is understandable as a dismissed case means no criminal record. The few states that do have some data for the number of dismissals after being charged with DWI put the number at between 10% (California) to 70% (Connecticut).
Particular interesting for someone charged with a crime is the most common grounds for dismissal. In DWI or DUI charges, this is the absence of probable cause. For an arrest for drunk driving to stick, the arresting officer must have a legitimate reason for making the stop in the first place. It could be erratic driving behavior, a separate traffic violation i.e. broken taillight, or even littering. If the arresting officer cannot give a satisfactory reason for making the initial stop, the whole case gets thrown out or dismissed.
In other cases, what is considered a dismissal may actually be what is termed a deferred adjudication, where first-time DUI offenders complete a course that will allow them to avoid a conviction even when there is overwhelming evidence of DUI. This is equally desirable under certain circumstances.
This is why it is so important that a person charged with a crime should take advantage of their right to remain silent and to consult with a criminal defense lawyer immediately after being arrested. The land of probable cause is a slippery slope, and an experienced Austin criminal lawyer is likely to know where the best footholds are. If you are being charged with DWI, you will want to be guided to those footholds to avoid a conviction because it has long-term and far-reaching consequences. Those convicted of DWI run the risk of losing their driver’s license, being thrown in jail, and having to pay hefty fines.