It's commonly believed people arrested for crimes go straight from jail to court. In reality, cases are reviewed by the prosecutor, who decides whether to try defendants in court or to drop the charges. Even though you may have been arrested for a DUI, here are two reasons the prosecutor may decline to pursue charges against you.
You Can Help With Other Cases
Criminal cases aren't as easy to prosecute as television shows make it seem. District attorneys must prove defendants' guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; a high bar that can be difficult to get over. Because of this, they are always looking for ways to strengthen their cases. If a prosecutor feels you have valuable information or testimony that can help them win a different case, he or she may be willing to drop the DUI charges you're facing in exchange for your help.
This typically takes the form of a plea bargain requiring you to fulfill your end of the deal (e.g. provide witness testimony) before the prosecutor makes good on his or her promise. In some cases, the prosecutor will drop the charges but reserve the right to levy them against you at a later date if you fail to follow through on the deal as agreed.
Striking this kind of deal with the prosecutor lets you avoid the consequences of being convicted of DUI. Be aware, though, some states prohibit plea bargaining in DUI cases, usually due to a "tough on crime" policy established by politicians. You should also think carefully about the consequences associated with assisting the prosecutor. If the district attorney wants you to testify against a gang member, consider the ramifications of doing so (e.g. retaliation by other members of the gang) and take the proper precautions.
Your Case Is a Political Landmine
In many jurisdictions, the person who heads the prosecutor's office is elected into the position. This means they must curry favor with voters if they want to keep their jobs. This is why you sometimes see prosecutors pursuing cases they can't possibly win or devoting resources to chasing small-time criminals (e.g. shoplifters). They want voters to see they're on the community's side so they can remain in office.
However, the opposite is also true. Prosecutors have been known to drop charges in cases where pursuing them would have meant career suicide. That's not to say your case will be this severe. If there's something about your case that may provoke outrage in the community (e.g. you were trying to escape an abuser when you were caught driving drunk), though, the prosecutor may decide to let it go.
For more information about these and other reasons a prosecutor may drop your case or help fight DUI charges, contact a criminal defense attorney at a firm such as Boehmer Law.