In light of the number of California motorists who are arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) each year, you may assume drunk driving is not that serious of an offense. After all, if so many people are charged with it, it can’t be that big of a deal, right? Well, think again. Despite its prevalence, DUI is one of the most dangerous offenses a driver can commit—and that means it also carries some of the harshest penalties. Fortunately, if you are one of the countless individuals charged with drunk driving, you may be able to avoid many of these consequences by getting your charges reduced to a California DUI dry reckless offense.
A “dry reckless” charge is a type of moving violation that is applied in cases where a person is driving in a manner that shows flagrant disregard to the safety of other motorists. Although classified as a misdemeanor, the charge is far less serious than a DUI. For example, while a drunk driving conviction carries up to $3,000 in fine and a mandatory six-month license suspension, the penalties for a dry reckless charge include only a $145 fine. What’s more, though the charge will add points to your driving record, you won’t lose your driving privileges or have to serve time in jail if you are convicted of a dry reckless offense.
Unlike a drunk driving conviction—which can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket—a dry reckless charge will also have little impact on your insurance premiums. Plus, because the charge can be applied in cases that do not involve alcohol, your offense will not be used against you if you are charged with DUI in the future. This is extremely important, as the penalties for drunk driving increase substantially if you have a prior conviction on your record.
Of course, it’s not always possible to get a DUI charge reduced to a dry reckless offense. Depending on the circumstances of your arrest, the prosecutor may be unwilling to negotiate a plea bargain—which means you will face far more stringent sentencing guidelines as a result. In fact, the only time a driver typically qualifies for a reduced sentence is if his or her blood alcohol content (BAC) was only slightly above the legal 0.08% limit, or the prosecution has little evidence to support the charge.
To determine whether you may be able to get your DUI reduced to a dry reckless charge, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced defense attorney immediately after your arrest. Oftentimes, the prosecution’s case may have a number of weaknesses—and your attorney can take advantage of these flaws in order to poke holes in your case and, in some cases, get your charges dismissed entirely.
For more information about ways to challenge your DUI, submit your information online today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a skilled drunk driving defense attorney in your area.