One of the most important decisions to make as a drunk driving defendant is whether to accept a plea bargain if it is offered. While sometimes it’s better to take a case to trial, a plea agreement with diminished consequences or a reduced charge is sometimes in the client’s best interests. An experienced California DUI / DWI defense lawyer can determine whether a plea bargain is the best course of action.
One of the best plea deals that can be made in a drunk driving case is to plead guilty to exhibition of speed. This reduced charge is typically offered only when the prosecutor’s case is particularly weak. Exhibition of speed is a low-level misdemeanor charge that carries substantially less serious penalties than DUI / DWI, wet-reckless, or dry-reckless charges.
Unlike more serious charges related to drinking and driving, an exhibition of speed plea will not count as a prior conviction if the driver faces another DUI / DWI within the next 10 years. It carries no automatic license suspension or SR-22 filing requirement unless the driver is unsuccessful at a DMV hearing.
Exhibition of speed is typically offered as a reduced charge when the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is equal to or lower than the legal limit of .08 percent. A driver who pleads guilty to exhibition of speed usually must pay only a fine. The driver does not have to attend alcohol education classes, although he or she may have to agree to some educational requirement.
There is little debate that an exhibition of speed conviction is preferable to a drunk driving charge. An attorney who specializes in drunk driving defense may be able to broker a plea bargain that includes this reduced charge.