A North Carolina man’s drunk driving case has been thrown out by the state’s Court of Appeals after it was determined that prosecutors had taken too long to proceed to trial. The man, who was arrested in June 2010, was forced to wait for more than three years in the DWI matter, which was thrown out in early December. State courts determined that the man’s constitutional rights had been violated, because he was prohibited from proceeding to trial within a reasonable amount of time.
Although the driver was prepared to go to trial for DWI and driving without a license, prosecutors in the case continued to stall. A district court judge finally became outraged in late August 2011, as the man was still awaiting a trial in the matter. That judge indicated his intention to dismiss the case entirely; of course, that prompted a lengthy series of appeals from the prosecution, which simply delayed the case even more.
Additional hearings in the case occurred in October 2011. By February 2012, more recommendations were provided to dismiss the case, because the defendant’s constitutional rights had been violated. Prosecutors had not proven that their series of continuances and appeals had not been undertaken to simply cause delay in the matter. As a consequence, the upper courts dismissed the man’s drunk driving case entirely.
Every criminal defendant has the right to a speedy, fair and unbiased trial, no matter the nature of their offense. When prosecutors abuse their powers, defendants should be provided with some measure of redress; in this case, the drunk driving charges were dismissed. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help defendants in such cases learn more about their constitutional rights, ensuring that the state does not overstep its prosecutorial boundaries.
Source: The Newspaper, “North Carolina throws out DUI case over prosecutorial delay” No author given, Dec. 12, 2013