Posted by Phoenix DUI Attorney Nick Alcock:
With the help of an experienced DUI attorney it is certainly possible for a person accused of DUI to get his or her DUI reduced down to the lesser charge of Reckless Driving. The key is in knowing the situations and circumstances that tend to lead to reductions in charges. Hiring a skilled DUI lawyer who will focus on and investigate the potential problem issues with your case is step one. These issues primarily include the legality of the initial traffic stop, how the person did on the field sobriety tests, and whether the breath test was working properly.
Sometimes the state is faced with evidentiary issues such as a breath test machine that was malfunctioning, or a defendant with a low breath alcohol level. Other cases involved evidence that was tainted by police misconduct such as an officer making the initial traffic stop without probable cause, a bad DUI checkpoint, an officer who did not read the person Miranda warnings, or when an officer unlawfully stopped the person and detained him/her without justification. In cases like those, the state will look at the law and often reduce the charge.
Another common way cases are reduced is by attacking the field sobriety exercises that a person is asked to perform on the side of the road. Many times a person does well on these tests, and passes them, but is still arrested for DUI. In these situations, an experienced DUI lawyer will look at the video and highlight how well his client performed to the prosecutor. When realizing that the person performed well on these tests, thereby showing that they were not impaired, rather than going to trial the state agrees to reduce the charge to a reckless driving. Because these tests are very difficult considering the circumstances you are asked to do them under, it is almost impossible to pass for the average person. Therefore, when someone looks good when doing these tests on video, it is very tough for the state to prove that the person was DUI. Since the state has the burden of proof they often reduce the charge to avoid a not guilty verdict in front of a jury.
Ultimately, a Reckless Driving conviction looks much better than a DUI and does not carry the stigma or as harsh of a penalty that a DUI would carry, not to mention being considerably less expensive. Also, if your first DUI is reduced to Reckless Driving, and you are arrested for DUI a second time, you will still be considered a first time DUI offender. This is important because the penalties for DUI increase dramatically for each subsequent DUI conviction.
For a free consultation regarding your Arizona DUI case, call the Phoenix DUI Defense Lawyers at Alcock & Associates today at 602-989-5000.
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