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  • Can I Reopen a DUI Case?

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Depending on the circumstances, you could reopen a DUI case. However, not all DUI cases can be explored again. If you were convicted of a DUI, you will need to discuss reopening with an attorney and see if your case qualifies.

    The circumstances for reopening a DUI can vary, but the most common reasons include an appeal, or you were convicted of underage drinking. Again, not all DUI cases can be reopened. If you think you qualify for an appeal or you would like to address an underage DUI conviction, talk with a local attorney to see if your case qualifies.

    Reopening a DUI for an Appeal

    Like any criminal case, you have the right to appeal the court’s decision in a DUI. You cannot just appeal because you disagree with the court’s findings. Instead, you must have legal grounds for requesting that appeal. When you reopen the case for an appeal, you are now asking that a higher court (higher than the level court which convicted you), reexamine the case and the verdict.

    Do You Have Grounds to Appeal Your DUI?

    There are numerous issues that apply to DUI claims. The most common reasons a defense attorney may appeal a DUI case include:

    • Procedural Issues – Procedural issues are errors that occurred during the trial that prevented you from receiving a fair trial. For example, taking a guilty plea from you while your attorney had already filed a motion to exclude confessions.
    • Substantive Issues – You may have evidence proving you were not guilty of the DUI, or evidence that should not have been used in your trial to convict you. Your attorney might argue that the court wrongfully convicted you by allowing this evidence in your case.

    How Does the Appeal Process Work for a DUI?

    To file an appeal, your attorney will argue based on whatever legal mistakes they feel affected the outcome of your case. They will supply evidence demonstrating that the case and the sentence should be dismissed or that you should have a new trial that corrects the errors.

    When your lawyer considers an appeal, they will consider what the court reviews and how they will look at the record of your case. The argument must be strong enough to show that a genuine legal mistake affected the outcome of your case. Your attorney will use the entire court record including transcripts, witness statements, and physical evidence.

    To get started, your attorney files their brief with the appellate court. The appellate court then looks into the record and your attorney’s brief. They will then allow the state to file a brief that argues against your claims and shows why the conviction should be upheld. Your attorney is given another opportunity to file a brief in response to the state’s argument. Sometimes the appellate court will hear oral arguments, but that is rare in a DUI case.

    It is best to discuss the idea of an appeal with an experienced attorney. Not all guilty convictions can be overturned.

    Reopening a DUI Due to a Conviction as a Minor

    Another instance where you may reopen a DUI case occurs when you were convicted of a DUI while under the age of 21. In this case, you may have a driver’s license suspension and a criminal record. Just like an adult criminal case, there must be a valid argument for reopening a DUI claim.

    You may feel that your driver’s license suspension from the court or the conviction itself was unfair. You may also feel that there were legal errors in your case. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor DUI and you served probation, the court does allow you to reopen your case but only within so many months after the date of conviction.

    You must show the court you have good cause for reopening your DUI case.

    Remember, You Cannot Reopen a Case Just because You Disagree or Regret the Outcome

    You cannot reopen a court case just because you disagree with the outcome.

    Even if you feel the judge was harsh in their sentencing, as long as they followed the law and your rights were not violated, it would be hard to appeal the case and succeed. Disagreeing with the sentencing or how long your driver’s license was suspended for will not result in reopening your case. You can consult with a defense attorney to explore your options and make sure you do not have grounds for an appeal.

    Likewise, if you made a plea bargain with the prosecution and regret that decision later, you cannot request to reopen your case. That is why it is critical to never negotiate a deal with the prosecution without having an attorney present. An attorney can review the offer and go over your options with you. Most importantly, they will make sure that you fully understand the deal you are making and the consequences of accepting that deal. This is because your attorney knows that once you accept the deal in court, it is permanent and you cannot change your mind later.

    Do You Feel You Have Grounds for an Appeal on Your DUI Case?

    If you feel that you do have a valid reason to appeal the outcome of your DUI case, speak with a criminal defense attorney to explore your options. While it is possible to reopen a case, you need an experienced defense attorney to review the factors and see whether or not your case qualifies to be reopened.

    The defense team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can review your DUI case and see if you qualify for an appeal, or if you were a minor, if you can reopen your DUI case. We have handled hundreds of DUI cases, including DUI case appeals. And we can help you find the best solution possible in your case, too.

    To explore your options, schedule a free case evaluation with our team. You can book your appointment by calling us or requesting more information online.