If you have been arrested for DUI and Reckless Driving in or around Spokane, contact us right away.
Retaining a knowledgeable and experienced DUI defense lawyer can turn a case around while protecting your liberty, job and future.
DUI and Reckless Driving
In the State of Washington, a person charged with driving under the influence (DUI) might be able to negotiate a plea of reckless driving for the judge’s consideration. If he or she accepts that negotiated plea, the DUI charge is dismissed in return for a plea of guilty to reckless driving with alcohol being present. Compared to the consequences of pleading to or being found guilty of a DUI, a plea of guilty to a wet reckless is a plea to a lesser offense.
Both DUI and reckless driving are classified as gross misdemeanors, and in the context of any jail time and fines, they carry the same possible maximum sentences. What distinguishes them is that the presiding judge has more sentencing discretion on the “wet reckless,” including the possibility of being able to keep your driver’s license. The possibilities of having to install an interlock ignition device and a shorter probationary period also figure into the equation. Those are really big reasons why you should visit us for a free consultation and case evaluation on any Washington DUI, if it was in Spokane, Spokane Valley or beyond. We’ll be able to tell you what we think we might be able to do on your case, and if we’re retained, we can formulate a strategy to that end.
There are a variety of reasons why a judge might accept a plea agreement on a DUI case. Maybe there are issues with the facts of the case that the police didn’t document properly. Maybe there are issues on admissibility of the prosecutor’s evidence. Perhaps the arresting officer took a job with another police department in Florida, and it’s expensive and inconvenient to bring him or her back. Prosecutors have their own weaknesses, and if a prosecutor doubts his or her ability to prevail in a trial, he or she will be amenable to making a deal. Some factors that help guide a prosecutor and our attorneys in a plea agreement include:
- Whether this is the client’s first DUI arrest
- Whether there were no aggravating factors like an accident with personal injury
- Whether there are evidence issues in the case
- Any prior criminal convictions
- Whether the defendant cooperated with police
It’s important to remember that a “wet reckless” will be treated as a prior DUI conviction if you’re arrested for a second offense.
Another alternative to the DUI issue in Washington might be a plea of guilty to negligent driving in the first degree. That would involve the operation of a motor vehicle in a way that’s negligent and endangers the property of another person while the driver is exhibiting the effects of having consumed alcohol or drugs. The maximum jail time on a conviction for this offense is 90 days with a fine and penalty assessments of $1,250.
In some counties in Washington, prosecutors aren’t allowed any plea agreement discretion by their bosses on DUI cases. There’s enough latitude in other counties to reduce a DUI charge down to negligent driving under the right circumstances. If a prosecutor’s position is inflexible, the good reputation of a respected and credible Washington DUI defense attorney can be pivotal in a sentencing hearing on a simple plea of guilty to a DUI charge with a .08 or .10 blood alcohol level on a first offense.
Contact a Spokane / Spokane Valley DUI Attorney Today
We’re highly trained and experienced Washington DUI lawyers, and you deserve the best possible defense that you can get. Although it’s against the law for us to guarantee a result on a case, we’ll work tirelessly to get the best possible result for you. Contact us right away after any DUI arrest.