Reducing a DUI to Reckless Driving

DUI arrests and convictions are an important metric for the area of law enforcement and prosecutors. Although they know that many DUI cases are not solid, they still want to obtain convictions the majority of the time. Because of this, prosecutors need to have a reason to make the reduction. If they believe that they can easily win a contested case in court they have little or no incentive to give up on the opportunity to obtain a guilty verdict.

The first step in the process is to keep our client out of the initial DUI bench trial assigned to them by the police officer. This is the date written on the blue ticket that accompanies a DUI arrest. The reason why this is so important is that on this date the only options usually available are to either plead guilty, plead no contest, or to proceed to a non-jury trial without the benefit of discovery.

So if your goal is to negotiate a reckless driving resolution for your case, it is critical that you not attempt to go to the traffic court date written on your ticket without first consulting with a lawyer.

At the same time we make our initial court filings that serve to cancel the initial court date, we also file comprehensive discovery motions. The end result is that the prosecutor will be legally required to turn over the evidence that we need to effectively challenge the case. This includes the evidence that can show whether or not the police violated DUI arrest procedures (if they did it can result in a total dismissal of the case).

Once we obtain the discovery materials, we analyze them looking for opportunities to achieve a legal dismissal, suppress the prosecutor's evidence, or to achieve a not-guilty verdict if the case was taken to trial. At the Law Office of James R. Snell, Jr., LLC, we will have two lawyers review the case to make sure that nothing is missed. In addition to reviewing the paper documents and video evidence procured during the discovery process we also regularly interview other witnesses, subpoena or use the Freedom of Information Act to obtain other evidence, and often times, we go to the scene of our client's arrest to look for irregularities with the roadside conditions our client was requested to perform field sobriety tests.

Only after a comprehensive case analysis is completed is it possible to effectively negotiate for a reckless driving reduction. Even after doing all of our "homework" is it possible to get a reckless driving offer made in every case? No, but we can be assured that we are able to obtain the offer for our clients in every case whenever it is a possibility. And for the occasions when a reckless plea offer isn't available, we can be assured that we will be fully prepared to fight our client's case in court (and getting a not-guilty verdict in a case that the prosecutor wouldn't negotiate makes for a very good day).

Categories: DUI
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