Can DUI Charge Get Dropped If The Officer Doesn’t Show Up?
When a Police Officer Doesn’t Show Up to a DUI Hearing
It is a common misconception that DUI charges get dropped automatically when the police officer is not present at the initial hearing. While it makes sense that a case would be dropped if the police officer does not show up, it would be quite unlikely. Many people believe this because they have had a traffic citation dropped for the same reason. Perhaps someone they know received a parking violation, and the citation got dropped because on the hearing date, the officer failed to show.
Despite what you may have heard, however, there is a big difference between a minor traffic violation and a DUI. If you are charged with a DUI in New York, you need an experienced Long Island DUI Attorney to representation from the start. Here are some of the reasons why you should not expect a DUI to be dropped just for the officer failing to show up.
A DUI is a Criminal Charge
Unlike minor traffic violations, such as speeding, U-turn violations, and parking violations, a DUI serious criminal charge that is brought under New York’s Vehicle Traffic Laws, as described in Article 31. A DUI conviction is considered a misdemeanor in New York, and it carries severe penalties that can include up to one year in jail, even for a first offense. So, although a judge may be inclined to let someone go on a minor traffic ticket, they rarely do so for DUI charges.
Drunk Driving is Dangerous
The more political and public pressure against a behavior, the more you be certain that prosecuting attorneys will work hard to get convictions. Between 2001 and 2015, Suffolk County had more DUI-related auto crashes than any other county in New York, according to the New York Times. So, courts will not just walk away from a potential charge due to scheduling conflicts.
The Court can Continue the Case to a Later Date
Courts are generally sympathetic to the workload of police departments, and they understand that sometimes officers may have scheduling conflicts. If judges had to simply dismiss criminal charges each time a police officer was unable to attend a hearing, there would be a lot of criminals going free. In most cases, if the officer has a scheduling conflict, the prosecutor will ask the judge for a continuance. Most judges will grant the request at least one or two times in order to ensure that the state has a chance to present all the evidence.
The Officer’s Testimony is Just One Type of Evidence
In a criminal trial, testimony is not the only evidence. There may be results of a blood-alcohol test, dash cam footage, and other witnesses. Although a diligent prosecutor will always want the officer to testify if possible, a surprising number of DUI cases are proven without testimony by an officer.
Hiring a Long Island DUI Lawyer to Defend You in Court
New York DUI and DWAI (“Driving While Ability Impaired”) laws are complex and can have subtle exceptions that even some attorneys do not understand. The state will do its best to get a conviction. Do not go to court unrepresented. Call toll-free (888) DUI-LAWYER today to speak with our trusted Long Island DUI Lawyers about your case. Consultations are free, so do not take chances going to court without first talking to a drunk driving defense attorney.