Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never ok. However, mistakes do happen, so it is wise to use these mistakes as learning opportunities. Many people plead guilty to their DUI charge, which is an option to consider. Others may choose to plead down their DUI charge, which can reduce your penalties and the actual sentence in some cases. If you are considering a reduction in your DUI charge, here are a few important things to know.
1. Not An Option in All States
One of the first things you need to know is that pleading down to reduce your charge may not even be an option in your specific state. California is one state that does allow you the possibility of pleading down to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving or "wet reckless," which is reckless driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Other states have stricter laws on DUI charges, so you may not be able to plead down your charge in any situation. Consult a lawyer in your state to determine if your state permits pleading down a DUI charge.
2. Variety of Pleading Down Options
Most people are surprised to know the options that are available to them when considering a plea deal after a DUI charge. You and your attorney can work together to determine which plea bargain is right for your case. You can plead guilty to a lesser charge, such as reckless driving. If you caused an accident or property damage while driving under the influence, you may be able to plead guilty to one charge in hopes of getting the other charge dismissed. Finally, you may be able to plead in agreement for a shorter, less serious penalty or sentence.
3. There are Stipulations/Conditions
Each case is different, so your ability to plead down a DUI charge or compromise on charges/sentences will involve various stipulations and conditions. If you have been charged and convicted for a previous DUI or another criminal offense or you were driving at a level excessively over the legal limit, your chances of pleading down or coming up with a deal will be lower. No matter what the agreement comes to, you may be required to take drug/alcohol education classes and even enroll in a drug/alcohol rehabilitation program. In addition, part of your plea deal may mean you will be on probation for a period of time.
A DUI charge is a serious offense, but it does not have to wreak havoc on your life. This guide will help you understand if it is possible to plead down your DUI charge. For more information, contact your local DUI attorney.