Your criminal defense attorney should engage in serious talks with the prosecutor about a plea bargain. The goal is to get the charge and the penalties decreased. One of the lesser offenses is what is commonly referred to as “dry reckless” pursuant to Vehicle Code Section 23103.
A “dry reckless” is a misdemeanor charge defined as a flagrant disregard for people or property. Unlike any alcohol or drug related offenses, the benefits of this charge are huge. There is no mandatory sentencing enhancements for repeat offenders, shorter county jail sentence, if any, shorter probation, a reduced fine, no mandatory court-ordered license suspension, no DUI school or, at most, a six week program and it does not “invite” the same scrutiny as would a DUI conviction with respect to professional or commercial licenses.
A conviction of a dry reckless charge is simply recorded as a misdemeanor reckless driving. There is no automatic association with a DUI. But the biggest benefit of this charge is that under this Vehicle Code, it is not “priorable.” This means that if you have an arrest and/or a conviction of a DUI within a ten-year period, even though factually you have had a DUI-related arrest/conviction before, this new arrest will be deemed as a first-time DUI.
Based on the above-mentioned benefits, this reduction is also rarely “given” by prosecutors and highly scrutinized by judges. The effectiveness of your lawyer will be tested to show why you deserve such a benefit and reduction of a criminal charge and penalties. That is why it is critically important that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney that will do the due diligence work required.
There may be constitutional problems of the Fourth Amendment in your case such as illegal detention or search and seizure of your vehicle. The breath test machine and the records may be flawed. Equally important is the blood test (if this was also conducted). It may have contamination or fermentation issues.
While a low blood alcohol level and serious problems with the prosecution’s case, there may be a reduction to a dry reckless or even an exhibition of speed charge which also carries lesser penalties and not “priorable.”
What is an exhibition of speed? California Vehicle Code 23109 (c) punishes those who engage in “exhibition of speed” or “speed contests.” While this charge really has nothing to do with DUI, it is uniformly understood to be a DUI reduction. This charge is also rarely given by the prosecutor but if the defense attorney spots weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, mistakes in the police work and credibility issues of the officer, among other mitigating factors, the prosecutor will duly note them.
What should be transparent in this article is that reductions of DUI charges are not common. In fact, they are rare, but what the readers should walk away with is that DUI reductions are possible but only if you have a skilled and an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Any comments, email me at [email protected] or call my office at 310-601-7144.
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