Mid-Trial Motions in DUI Cases
DWI motions to dismiss when the state has failed to meet its burden of proof
Because DUI cases are serious criminal charges, the state must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that the prosecutor must prove each and every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. An “element” of a DUI charge is simply a required point.
For example, here is a list of the common elements in a DUI while impaired to the slightest degree charge:
- That you drove a vehicle;
- In the city and state where you are charged;
- After having consumed alcohol;
- That you were under the influence of; and
- Which impaired you at least to the slightest degree.
Since the laws of each state are different, you should check your state and local DUI laws and discuss your case with an experienced local DUI lawyer to find out exactly what the state must prove in your case.
In the above example, each number, one through five, must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
In all DUI prosecutions, the state goes first because it has the burden of proof. Once the state is done with its case, it must rest. When it does, if the state has forgotten to prove or present evidence that could prove any of the above elements, the case will be susceptible to a motion to dismiss.
The standard that the judge will use to consider such a motion depends on the rules of criminal procedure and case law from the individual state, but typically the judge must determine whether, if viewed in the light most favorable to the prosecutor, there is any real possibility that a reasonable trier or fact (typically the jury) could find you guilty based on the evidence presented.
If the answer is “no,” the the judge will have to dismiss the case. If the answer is “yes” then the trial continues on, and the defense is still entitled to present its case.