The case of ABC journalist Sam Donaldson does demonstrate that DUI cases can be dismissed. Though the arrest did not occur in Virginia, his case somewhat typifies what can occur during DUI arrests.
The case was dismissed due to a lack of probable cause. While the judge stated the arresting officer had a sufficient reason for pulling Donaldson over, the arrest report apparently did not appear complete. Also, the report contained information concerning a field sobriety test which, in the jurisdiction where the arrest took place, was not supposed to be administered to any individual over the age of 65 – Donaldson being 79-year-old at the time of the arrest.
The field sobriety test was not supposed to be administered to individuals over 65 because certain individuals in this age category may have problems standing on one leg or performing other tasks required by the officers. Such an assumption may or may not be correct. However, we do want to make certain no one is convicted for a DUI based on factors unrelated to consumption of alcohol or drugs.
It is up to arresting officers and prosecuting attorneys to demonstrate in court that an individual was actually under the influence of alcohol or drugs before a conviction can take place. Experienced DUI defense attorneys can hold these individuals to that requirement and provide clients with a vigorous defense.
Unfortunately, the mere arrest of an individual for DUI can result in unwanted publicity. Individuals names are printed in the newspaper prior to any conviction taking place, and news stories can be printed up in such a manner that many readers will assume the person was actually guilty of what they are charged.
Source: ABQJournal.com, “Newsman Sam Donaldson’s DUI case dismissed,” Nov. 13, 2013