In addition to possible jail time, probation, fines and costs, the collateral consequences of a DUI can be severe. Some examples of collateral consequences include:
- Loss of professional licensing,
- Loss of a driver’s license and
- The inability to enter into countries including Canada.
Because of this, you may need to try to get the DUI dismissed and plead to Reckless Driving instead.
The prosecuting attorneys are not in the business of dismissing DUIs. Therefore, getting it dropped to a Reckless Driving charge requires compelling circumstances. A strong legal defense or a substantial personal hardship comprises these “compelling circumstances.”
A strong legal defense can help drop a DUI to reckless driving
A strong legal defense makes the prosecutors work harder and puts them at risk of losing their case altogether. Because of this, a strong legal defense may compel a prosecuting attorney to reduce the DUI to Reckless Driving instead. Some legal defenses are constitutional, such as the officer lacking probable cause to stop the vehicle and/or lacking probable cause to arrest.
Other legal defenses challenge the purported evidence in the case, such as the validity or reliability of a blood alcohol test, breath alcohol test, or field sobriety tests. Recognizing and successfully using these defenses requires specialized knowledge and experience that only lawyers trained in breath, blood and field sobriety testing can beat.
Personal hardships can get a DUI dropped to reckless driving
Every person arrested for DUI is facing some type of personal hardship. However, some hardships are greater than others and may be eligible for special consideration from the prosecutor. These types of substantial and compelling circumstances include:
- The loss of the ability to work due to losing professional licensing,
- Losing a driver’s license or
- Losing the ability to travel, if that is a work requirement.
In these situations, you want to provide the prosecuting attorney with detailed personal information that compels the prosecutor to examine the overall equities in the case and to consider making an offer that normally would not typically happen in a DUI case.
Charlotte Steffen specializes in criminal defense and driver’s license restorations. She has been practicing law for nearly 20 years. Her experience includes thousands of criminal cases, including capital offenses and high profile cases. She began her career at the Legal Aid and Defender Association of Detroit, handling the toughest felonies in Wayne County. She went into private practice in 2002 and has continued helping those who need it most.
Charlotte is an adjunct law professor at the Detroit Mercy Law School in the Criminal Trial Clinic. She supervises student attorneys and lectures on drunk driving and driver’s license issues. She is also on the faculty of the Criminal Defense Attorneys of Michigan in which she helps train lawyers to become trial lawyers.