Reducing DUI Charges May Require Pleading Guilty To a Lesser Offense
While an acquittal or dismissal is always the goal when facing a charge of driving under the influence, reducing DUI charges is still preferable to a DUI conviction. If an El Paso County judge or jury finds you guilty of DUI, the consequences are wide-ranging and long-term. Loss of driving privileges, the possibility of time behind bars, hefty fines, and a criminal record that will haunt you for the rest of your life are just a few things that await you after a DUI conviction.
That is why reducing DUI charges is so vital when dismissal or acquittal appears unlikely. To get Colorado prosecutors to reduce your charges to a lesser offense, however, you will likely need to plead guilty to that lesser offense. While a guilty plea to reduced charges is still better than a conviction for driving under the influence, a plea bargain is not something to enter into without consulting an experienced Colorado DUI attorney. You also need an attorney to give you the best shot at reducing DUI charges because they know the tactics most likely to convince prosecutors to give you a break. In fact, the best criminal defense lawyers in El Paso County were former prosecutors themselves, so they know exactly what defenses to raise to reduce your charges.
What Is A Lesser Charge Than DUI?
One lesser charge that prosecutors may agree to is a “wet reckless” charge. However, if you look for “wet reckless” in Colorado’s criminal statutes, you won’t find it. That is because there is no distinct offense called “wet reckless.” Reckless driving, on the other hand, is illegal. Under Colorado law, reckless driving means driving “in such a manner as to indicate either a wanton or willful disregard for the safety of persons or property.
A driver may face a wet reckless charge and conviction when that “wanton and reckless disregard” for others’ safety involves driving while intoxicated.
If the police arrest you for suspicion of driving under the influence and you test over the legal limit (.08 BAC), prosecutors will charge you with DUI. They won’t charge you with a wet reckless. However, depending on your specific circumstances, previous driving record, and the talents of your DUI defense lawyer, prosecutors may agree to a plea bargain, reducing DUI charges to this lesser charge.
Who May Be Able To Reduce DUI Charges To a Wet Reckless?
If your DUI charges weren’t your first, or you killed or injured someone while driving under the influence, the odds of prosecutors reducing DUI charges to a wet reckless are slim to none.
However, entering into a plea agreement to reduce the charges to wet reckless is a distinct possibility if the following apply to you:
- You have no previous DUI or DWAI (driving while ability impaired) convictions;
- You did not cause an accident, injuries, or property damage;
- You fully cooperated with the arresting officer and agreed to be tested without objection;
- Your arrest did not involve any other charges.
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How Your Attorney Can Convince Prosecutors to Reduce Your DUI Charges
Just because your circumstances may make reducing DUI charges a possibility, there is no guarantee that the prosecutor assigned to your case will agree to a guilty plea for a wet reckless. If prosecutors think they have a strong DUI case, they may need to be convinced otherwise before accepting a wet reckless plea. A skilled criminal defense lawyer can raise several effective defenses to challenge the strength, reliability, or admissibility of evidence as part of their efforts to obtain a favorable plea deal:
The Traffic Stop Was Illegal or Improper
If the stop was improper, a judge could find that everything following the stop, including breathalyzer results, was “fruit of the poisonous tree.” That legal principle means that an illegal traffic stop can be the domino that knocks the prosecutors’ whole case down.
The Arresting Officer Violated Your Miranda Rights
Suppose the arresting officer didn’t advise you of your Miranda rights. In that case, Colorado Springs judges might rule that incriminating admissions or statements you made in the absence of such notice are not admissible as evidence and may exclude any breathalyzer test evidence from consideration.
Related: Can Police Lie During Interrogation in Colorado?
Challenging Breathalyzer and Other Test Results
Like all machines, breathalyzers can malfunction and not work as they should. Similarly, police officers often make mistakes when administering blood alcohol tests to drivers. Such errors can cast doubt on the accuracy or reliability of breathalyzer results and form the basis of a successful defense or may even persuade Colorado prosecutors to reduce DUI charges to a lesser charge.
The Number One Tactic That Increases Your Odds of Reducing DUI Charges
If you face charges for drunk driving in Colorado Springs, you have a lot on the line. The number one tactic for reducing DUI charges and defending yourself against prosecutors seeking a conviction is hiring a local criminal defense attorney who specializes in protecting individuals accused of drunk driving.
Don’t gamble with your future; speak with an experienced Colorado Springs defense attorney today.