Prosecutors handling DUI / DWI cases are sometimes willing to allow an accused drunk driver make a plea bargain, or plead guilty to a lesser charge. In some cases, a skilled California drunk driving criminal defense attorney can persuade a prosecutor to reduce the charge to a mere traffic infraction.
Pleading guilty to a traffic infraction, such as speeding or an unsafe lane change, is an indisputably favorable outcome for an accused DUI / DWI driver. Pleading guilty to an infraction leaves the driver with a clean criminal record. The driver must only pay a fine and receive a point on his or her driving record. There’s even a possibility that the point can be removed by attending traffic school.
Prosecutors typically only offer to reduce a drunk driving charge to a traffic infraction if the case is not likely to win at trial. The prosecutor may realize how weak the case is after an adept DUI lawyer points out a fatal flaw in the conduct of the arresting officer, the driver’s chemical test, or another piece of evidence.
A plea bargain that reduces a drinking and driving charge to a traffic infraction is usually only available in cases where the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) hovers near the legal limit of .08 percent. Other factors include the circumstances of the arrest, the jurisdiction where the charges are brought, and whether or not the driver has a prior conviction for drunk driving during the past 10 years.
Sometimes drunk driving charges can be reduced to infractions that leave the driver with a clean criminal record and few repercussions. A lawyer who specializes in DUI / DWI defense can evaluate each case to determine whether a negotiation to a traffic infraction or other reduced charge can be achieved.