Can a DUI attorney reduce your charge? When you get a regular traffic ticket, it isn’t hard to get the prosecutor to agree to a lesser charge. For example, if you were caught driving 20 miles above the speed limit, they may agree to change it to a seatbelt ticket. Typically, the prosecutor will talk to the officer who pulled you over and see if he is in agreement. As long as you weren’t disrespectful to the police officer, they’ll usually be in your corner. However, when you’ve been arrested and charged with DUI, it works a lot differently. Not only is the prosecutor going to be reluctant to dismiss the charges – but they probably won’t even deign to talk to you. This is why it’s important that you retain an experienced DUI attorney first. This way, you have someone who already has a working relationship with the prosecutor. This will make it a lot easier to try to negotiate a favorable plea.
Your DUI Lawyer Will Do Their Best to Get the Charges Dismissed
Ideally, your DUI defense lawyer in will be able to get the charges against you dismissed. However, this is very rare. If the State didn’t have enough evidence to convict you of DUI, they probably wouldn’t have filed the charges. When the cops pull a driver over on suspicion of DUI, they know to look for certain things. For example, they may look for the following signs:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Slurred speech
- Disheveled appearance
- Odor of alcohol
- Open containers of alcohol
- Swerving or driving erratically
The cops will also ask you to take a breathalyzer test. This will record your blood alcohol concentration. If this number is higher than the legal limit of 0.08, you will be arrested for DUI. In fact, even if the number isn’t above the legal limit, you can still be arrested. If the officers think that you’re impaired and not fit to drive, they have the right to arrest you.
How Strong is the State’s Evidence?
One factor that will impact whether your DUI lawyer is able to get the charges reduced are the facts surrounding your case. There are some things that may make it difficult for your attorney to convince the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges. Some of these things include:
- This is not your first time being charged with DUI
- Your BAC was in excess of 0.15
- You were involved in an accident while driving under the influence
- There were passengers in the vehicle at the time of your arrest (especially if there were children)
- You refused the breathalyzer test and field sobriety test
- You were rude to the officers who arrested you
- You didn’t show up for your initial hearing
Any of these things will not make you look good in the prosecutor’s eye. If they think you’re a high-risk driver, there’s no way they’re going to make things easier for you. The things highlighted above demonstrate that you have no respect for the law. They also show that you have no problem putting the lives of innocent victims at risk. Your DUI lawyer may have an uphill battle.
Do You Have a Criminal History?
As stated above, your criminal past can influence the prosecutor’s decision to reduce the charges filed against you. If this was your first arrest for DUI, the prosecutor may be willing to entertain a guilty plea to reckless driving. In Idaho, as in most states, this plea is referred to as a “wet reckless.” It means that you were driving recklessly and happened to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the traffic stop.
If you have prior DUI convictions on your record, there’s no way the prosecutor will reduce the charges. However, even if you have unrelated crimes in your background, the prosecutor or the judge may not want to offer you a plea deal. Whenever a defendant shows a disrespect for the law, the State is reluctant to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Do You Know What Your BAC Level Was at the Time of Your DUI Arrest?
One other thing that can impact your chances of a plea deal is your BAC level at the time of your arrest. The legal limit for DUI in Idaho is 0.08. This is the same for almost every other state. The penalties for DUI become more serious when your BAC is 0.15 or higher. Your DUI attorney will have a hard time getting the charges reduced if you blew a 0.16 or higher. There’s now way they can argue that you weren’t drunk or intoxicated when your blood alcohol concentration is that high. This means that you were at least two times the legal limit of 0.08. When someone drinks that much and gets behind the wheel, it is concerning. Since the State’s biggest concern is public safety, they’ll do whatever it takes to keep drunk drivers off the road.
Your DUI Attorney Will Warn You to Be Respectful Toward the Prosecutor
One of the tricky things about getting a DUI reduced to reckless driving is that it depends on more than just your BAC level. It also depends on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. If the cops who arrested you tell the prosecutor that you were disrespectful, rude, or combative, it’ll be hard to convince them to reduce your charges. This is why it’s important that you be respectful to the police officers whenever they pull you over.
Your Best Chance of Having the Charges Reduced is to Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney
If you’ve recently been charged with DUI, you’re facing some pretty serious consequences. The best way to avoid some of these penalties is have a DUI defense lawyer handle your case. They can meet with the prosecutor and see if they’re willing to reduce the charges or dismiss them all together. Whether they’ll be able to do this will depend on the facts of your case.
It’s important to remember that even a reckless driving charge carries serious penalties. However, they are nowhere near as dire as those for DUI. If you get the second chance to keep your criminal history free of a DUI conviction, take it. You should speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.