Driving under the influence (DUI) convictions can seriously disrupt your life. In addition to the fines, potential jail time, and suspension of their license, people with a DUI on their record often face loss of employment and job prospects, increased insurance rates, and many other inconveniences. This is why people arrested and charged with a DUI want to know how to get their charges reduced.
If you are dealing with a DUI arrest, the first thing to know is that it should not automatically mean a DUI conviction. The fact is that a large number of DUI charges are reduced to reckless driving, or can be dropped entirely. The possibility for this depends on several factors, including the specifics of your case, your record, the judge, the prosecutor, and your defense attorney.
The following information can help you better understand the factors that lead to DUI charges being reduced to reckless driving, how often this happens, and the chances of getting it reduced. Above all, having an experienced attorney on your side with a background in DUI law and the mechanics of the legal and law enforcement systems is often the most significant factor in getting charges reduced or dropped.
Factors that Can Reduce a DUI Charge to Reckless Driving
When reviewing a DUI charge to determine if the case will result in a guilty or not guilty verdict, prosecutors will look for any factors that could weaken their case. Factors that could potentially lead to a not guilty verdict, and therefore a reduction in charges, include:
- The defendant’s previous driving, arrest, or conviction record, particularly for DUI
- The defendant’s level of cooperation during the arrest and investigation
- Voluntary efforts such as DUI school or interlock device on the part of the defendant
- Any potential concerns or doubts on the legality of the traffic stop or the arrest
- Any potential concerns about express or implied consent to submit to blood alcohol testing
- Any potential concerns around the accuracy or function of the testing equipment
It is the defense’s job to conduct a thorough investigation of these and other facts surrounding a DUI case to uncover any circumstances that could mitigate the DUI and persuade the prosecution to reduce or drop the charge.
How often are DUI charges reduced?
Estimates vary, but anywhere from 30% to 40% of all DUI charges get reduced to reckless driving in Florida. There are stringent requirements for law enforcement who arrest drivers on suspicion of a DUI, and a thorough investigation can often expose mistakes or oversights that make it difficult to prove the charge beyond a shadow of a doubt.
What charges can a DUI be reduced to?
It is very rare for a judge to dismiss a DUI charge outright, but the most common specific charges that a DUI can be reduced to are:
- Reckless driving, first offense
- Reckless driving, prior conviction
- Reckless driving causing property damage
- Reckless driving causing bodily injury
- Reckless driving involving drugs or alcohol, also known as a “wet reckless”
In nearly any case, a reckless driving charge will carry less severe penalties than a DUI. Wet reckless driving may be pursued when there is clear evidence of intoxication but not of the driver being over the .08 BAC limit needed for a DUI.
What are the chances of getting a DUI reduced to reckless driving?
This varies on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts surrounding your arrest and the prosecutor and judge assigned to your case. The single biggest thing anyone arrested for a DUI can do to increase the chances of a reduction in charges is to have an experienced and aggressive DUI lawyer on their side.
How an Experienced DUI Attorney Can Help with Reduced Charges
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a DUI, call the expert Clark Law legal team at (855) 680-4911. You can also schedule a free consultation. The highly experienced and skilled attorneys understand the laws and complexities of traffic violations, including driving under the influence, and we know how to fully protect your legal rights.
Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.