What if an Officer Doesn’t Show Up to a DUI Trial?

By Jonathan Blecher on October 13, 2015

What if you were arrested for driving under the influence in Miami and the arresting officer failed to show up at your DUI trial, would this give you any sort of an advantage? What if the state re-files, does this mean that you may get a better deal?

If you were arrested for DUI in Miami-Dade County and the police officer does not show up at your trial, and you have not waived your right to a speedy trial, usually, this means that the state does not have the option of refiling.

The state has 90 days to bring you to trial for a misdemeanor DUI. However, if you did waive your right to a speedy trial, this means that the state can refile the charges. A DUI defendant waives their right to a speedy trial by:

  • Delaying the case
  • Taking a continuance
  • Getting a bench warrant

Having dealt with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, I can say that they refile DUIs all the time. It’s not uncommon for an officer to not show up in court with what is called a “liaison slip,” a note from the department explaining that the officer is ill, or was called out for an urgent matter, etc.

When a cop fails to show up in court, usually the state will seek a trial day continuance when the officer has a “liaison slip.” If the judge is unwilling to grant the continuance, then the state dismisses the case.

In that scenario, the state will usually offer to reduce the charge to reckless driving, but with DUI conditions. If the DUI defendant does not accept the Assistant State Attorney’s offer, then the defendant’s right to a speedy trial is waived and the state can re-file the case.

Will the state re-file the case?

The decision to re-file the case depends on a number of factors. If it’s the defendant’s second or third DUI, it’s more likely that the state will re-file. Or, if the DUI involved an accident and the driver of the other vehicle showed up in court and wants to pursue the matter, the case will probably be re-filed.

It’s impossible to predict what the prosecutor will do, but I can tell you that they are expected to refile cases whenever possible.

I don’t recommend waiting until the trial day to see if the officer shows up – that’s a risk you don’t want to take. Your best bet is to contact my firm because I am familiar with the local judges, prosecutors and police officers in Miami-Dade County, and I can determine the best defense strategy for your DUI case.

I hope I’ve been of help to you; feel free to contact my firm, Jonathan Blecher, P.A. to schedule a free consultation.

Back To Blog