Often times the first issue raised by our clients is the possibility, or lack thereof, of their case being dismissed. This is a particularly tough question to answer when one is charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or any number of Domestic Violence (DV) charges. The legislature has carved out exceptions for these types of charges that make dismissal a much less easy remedy for a District Attorney or Court to agree to. In order for a Domestic Violence or Driving Under the Influence charge to either be dismissed or taken out of the alcohol or domestic violence realm which they are charged under, a finding must be made by the Court that District Attorney could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
In a normal case, if the District Attorney wants to dismiss a case, it’s a rather simple matter of just citing the “interests of justice” to the Court and in general the case will be dismissed. However, due to the legal requirement that the District Attorney make a “factual finding” on the record in Court that they cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt in Domestic Violence and Driving Under the Influence related cases, the Court is much less likely to be satisfied with the simple answer of “it is in the interests of justice your honor”.
If the Court were to accept the “interests of justice” filing by the DA, the Court would then also be making a finding that the District Attorney cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt on its own. That makes the judge the responsible party if the case is dismissed improperly. Rather than do that, a Judge is much more likely to require the District Attorney to state, on the record, why they cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt prior to allowing either type of case to be dismissed. As one can imagine, this is a particularly tough thing to talk a District Attorney into doing since they have supervisors who want to know why such a statement was made to the Court. Understanding this simple but very restrictive law passed by the Colorado Legislature makes it a little easier to understand why it is much more difficult to simply get a Domestic Violence or Driving Under the Influence case dismissed outright in most cases.