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All About DC DUI Case Dismissal Rates

Explore DC DUI Case Dismissal Rates in detail. Understand the statistics, trends, and how Scrofano Law can help you fight DUI charges.

Understanding the DUI Dismissal Rate in Washington, DC


Driving under the influence (DUI) in DC is a serious offense that does not get dismissed easily. However, a certain percentage of DUI cases in DC courts are dropped annually. Several factors may make it difficult for the prosecution or judge to proceed with a DUI case. These may include procedural errors in obtaining evidence, discrepancies in the arresting officer’s report, or an insufficient legal basis or evidence for the charges.

Exploring the rates at which DUI cases are dismissed can provide insight into the possibility of getting your DUI charges dropped. Moreover, understanding the reasons for dismissals can help you develop an effective defense plan.

If you are facing DUI charges in DC, our DC DUI defense lawyers at Scrofano Law P.C. are here to fight for you.


Statistical Overview of DC DUI Case Dismissal Rates


Law enforcement agencies in Washington, DC, take drunk driving arrests seriously. According to recent data from the American Addiction Center, DC recorded the lowest rate of DUI arrests compared to other states, with only 3.2 arrests for every 100,000 people. However, this data still shows that nearly 14,000 people are arrested for DUI in DC every year.

Although DUI results in many traffic accidents and fatalities, there are certain instances where a DUI will be dismissed. The dismissal rate for DUI charges in America is generally low. This is owing to technology, which has evolved drastically, creating various ways for law enforcement to confirm impaired driving.

For instance, Maryland recorded about 78% DUI convictions in 2020, with Worcester County having a 92.7% conviction rate. Virginia recorded 19,165 DUI arrests and 15,718 convictions in 2021, reflecting an 82% conviction rate. In 2022, DC recorded 627 DUI/DWI arrests, but the conviction rate is unknown. Based on these numbers, the average DUI dismissal rate is between 7 and just under 20 percent.

Pursuing a DUI dismissal is indeed challenging. Therefore, getting experienced guidance from an experienced DUI expungement lawyer is crucial. They can examine your case and look for reasons that may help with a dismissal.

How to Get a DUI Case Dismissed?

DUI cases get dismissed for several reasons. Your attorney may choose to file a motion to dismiss with the DC superior court if there are enough grounds for dismissal. Alternatively, your lawyer may have reached a settlement with the prosecution that leads to a dismissal of your charges.

Filing Pertinent Motions

The filing of motions is essential in DUI cases. A favorable ruling in a motion can result in the dismissal of your DUI charges. In most DUI cases, the prosecution holds most of the cards, and motions can be used to level the playing field.

Where the primary evidence is obtained from pulling you over without reasonable suspicion, your attorney can file a motion to suppress such evidence. The exclusion of the evidence means the prosecution doesn’t have enough evidence to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Afterward, your attorney can file a motion to dismiss your DUI case since there’s no sufficient evidence against you.

Your attorney can also file motions to compel the state to disclose evidence that should have been turned over at discovery. This may prove beneficial when building a defense strategy for your case.

Deferral Programs

DC has two deferral programs for individuals charged with DUI for the first time: Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) and Deferred Sentencing Agreement (DSA). Each with a set of eligibility requirements and conditions, these deferral programs offer an alternative to conviction. The successful completion of your deferral program will get your case dismissed.

Your DUI defense lawyer will assess your eligibility and work to secure your participation in the most suitable program so you can walk free and avoid a permanent DUI conviction on your criminal record.

Once your case is dismissed, you may need to consult a DUI expungement lawyer to seal your DUI arrest from public record. 

Factors Influencing Case Dismissal

The prosecution may choose to drop a DUI charge for several reasons, such as:

  • Insufficient evidence: Before a DUI conviction, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you committed the offense. Where evidence is lacking, usually because the evidence has been suppressed by the defense, the prosecution will likely drop the charges.

  • Lack of probable cause: Police officers must have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed or are committing a crime before pulling you over. Where the stop cannot be legally justified, any evidence obtained is deemed unlawful and thus inadmissible in court.

  • Violation of Constitutional rights or DC procedural rules: The U.S. Constitution protects certain rights, such as the right to remain silent, the right to have legal representation, and protection from unlawful searches and seizures. Where a law enforcement officer violates these rights, it could render your arrest unlawful.

  • Faulty breathalyzer or blood test results: DUI breath tests may produce faulty results due to a device malfunction, improper administration, or certain medical conditions. Where the test results are invalid or incorrect, it can result in a case dismissal.

With the right defense strategy, a DUI arrest does not have to result in a DUI conviction. Our skilled DUI defense attorneys can use any of the above factors to craft an effective defense strategy to secure a favorable outcome for our clients.

The Journey Toward a DUI Case Dismissal With Scrofano Law

Are you facing charges for a DUI offense in DC? Our DUI attorneys at Scrofano Law P.C. understand the complexities of DUI trial and motion hearings. We can provide reliable and honest advice about your charges and provide you with a clear understanding of the next steps.

At Scrofano Law, P.C., we thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding your arrest, gather evidence, and identify potential errors with the prosecution’s case. We can also fight to get you in a deferral program instead of a conviction.

Contact us today for a consultation with our DUI legal team.


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