5 Ways to Reduce DUI Charges
Sometimes a DUI is not because someone is careless or purposely breaking the law; it is an error in judgment. You had a few too many but thought you would be okay to drive. Before you knew it, you were being pulled over, subjected to a breathalyzer, and being handcuffed and placed into the back of a police sedan. You never pictured yourself being here, and you have never committed a crime before. Now you face a DUI which could result in a license suspension and a permanent criminal record.
Most people facing DUI charges are just like this; they have no criminal record, they made a bad call, and now they suffer permanent consequences. As a first-time offender, you may have options to reduce your DUI charges. However, it is essential that you speak with a criminal defense attorney because not all options work for all cases. Furthermore, only an attorney can help determine what reductions you might qualify for and help argue your case.
How Can You Reduce DUI Charges in Albuquerque?
DUI charges are serious and have long-term impacts on your life. Not only could it cost you your job, but it could affect you from getting a job or even entering the military.
Take a Drunk Driving Education Class
Most states today let you take an education program after being arrested for a DUI. If you complete the program, which is instead of jail time, then you may receive reduced charged. The DUI education course will discuss your driving habits, the risks of engaging in DUI driving, the effects alcohol and drugs have on your body, and consequences of further DUIs.
These courses are paid for out of your pocket, but if you continue the classes and complete it, you may receive a reduced sentence. Sometimes, drunk driving education is not enough. You might still receive a driver’s license at the end of your course, but not erase the DUI charge.
Request a Plea Bargain from the Prosecution
Sometimes your lawyer and the prosecution might be able to negotiate a plea deal. In a plea, the prosecutor will give you a reduced charge or offer alternative sentencing in exchange for your pleading guilty.
You might also be offered a plea deal if the state finds that their evidence is not strong enough to proceed to trial, or they have insufficient evidence to prove that you were driving drunk.
An option for plea deals could be pleading guilty to reckless driving. In this instance, you would keep your driver’s license and not have a DUI on your record.
Never take a plea deal without a criminal defense attorney. While you might be in a hurry to reduce those charges and possibly avoid jail time, you could plead guilty to something that is equally harmful. An attorney knows how to negotiate plea deals and can get the best possible reduction in charges or sentence so that you are not paying for that plea deal the rest of your life
Accepting Probation Over Jail Time
If you do not have any other charges other than the DUI, you might be eligible to serve probation over jail time. You might be offered probation because you are a first-time offender or because this is your first DUI. If you complete the probation, the prosecution might not go ahead with a DUI conviction.
Probation, however, comes with stringent conditions. If you fail to complete any of these conditions, you will not only have a DUI conviction, but you could face additional charges. Some conditions you are likely to encounter include:
- Taking substance abuse evaluations and frequent alcohol screening tests during your probation
- Attending a DUI education class
- Paying all court fines and fees
- Submitting to random drug testing
- Periodically checking in with a probation officer in-person
- Not leaving the city or state without permission from a probation officer
- Having your driver’s license suspended during the probationary period
- Paying all associated probation fees
Entering and Completing a Rehabilitation Program
If you are a repeat DUI offender, you will not have as many options for reducing your DUI charges. Repeat offenders not only are guaranteed to serve a jail sentence, but that sentence will be enhanced based on the number of previous offenses. Also, if you are a first time DUI offender, but you caused an accident and injuries, then you will have fewer options than someone who did not cause injury or property damage.
One way to reduce the sentence is inpatient alcohol or drug rehabilitation program. These are in lieu of a prison sentence, and the court might agree if you go to the treatment for the same period as you would serve a jail sentence. The treatment would be court-mandated in this case; therefore, you must finish the treatment and remain sober as part of your sentence.
Sometimes you can expunge a DUI, but most states are no longer offering this option to offenders. You can consult with an attorney to see if your DUI would allow you to have it expunged, mainly if you served probation and no prison time.
Arrested for a DUI? Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney Right Away
If you or a loved one has been arrested for a DUI, do not delay. You need to consult with an attorney right away to start exploring your options for reduced charges or to see if you qualify for alternative sentencing.
Speak with a DUI attorney from New Mexico Criminal Law Offices now by calling us at 505-375-4672 or request more information online. We offer free case evaluations, and we will aggressively fight to protect you from the long-term consequences of a lapse in judgment.