After being arrested for DUI, you may be able to get your charges reduced. A dry reckless charge is among the best sentence reductions you can get for your DUI charges. It carries significantly fewer penalties as compared to DUI charges and will affect you less in the future.
If you are facing DUI charges in Pasadena, you ought to be aware that it could be challenging to have the charges lowered without the help of an experienced attorney. Call the Michele Ferroni Pasadena Criminal Attorney Law Firm right away if you'd want to have a knowledgeable DUI attorney review the details of your case to determine what will be needed to assist you.
California's Definition of a Dry Reckless Charge
A dry reckless charge is a misdemeanor used in DUI proceedings where the accused's driving exhibited a gross disregard for the safety of others and property. Because it carries less severe penalties than normal DUI charges, it is often an ideal plea deal in DUI cases. California imposes the following penalties for a dry reckless charge:
- Misdemeanor probation for one to five years
- A maximum jail term of ninety days
- Maximum fines of $1000 including repayment of any court fees
Factors that Could Help convince a Prosecutor to Drop DUI Charges to Dry Reckless
The prosecution could decide to reduce DUI charges to dry recklessness based on several factors. These elements are called the "problem of proof." These elements are listed below.
The Breathalyzer had not Been Calibrated Properly
Breathalyzers must be routinely calibrated to retain their effectiveness under Title 17 guidelines. Therefore, you could be in a stronger position to negotiate a plea deal and lower your counts to dry reckless when you or your lawyer can demonstrate that the breathalyzer had not been properly calibrated.
DUI Blood Test Sample Storage Protocols were Violated
When a DUI offender has undergone a blood test, certain procedures need to be taken into account. Title 17 guidelines, which extend to both blood and breath testing, include these protocols. These guidelines include:
- Your blood needs to be drawn by a certified technician
- The technician needs to disinfect the drawing spot using an alcohol-based disinfectant
- To prevent the blood sample from fermenting and giving rise to higher BAC values, the specialist should use adequate preservatives or anticoagulants
- The preservative or anticoagulant shouldn't be past its expiration date
- The sample of blood should be mixed properly with the anticoagulant or preservative
- The blood sample needs to be properly stored
An erroneous BAC result can arise from breaking any of the aforementioned rules. Thus, your DUI penalties could be lowered to a dry reckless charge provided you can show that the specialist or other relevant officials disregarded any one of those guidelines.
Show That You Suffered From Severe Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease is a clinical illness that can lead to a mouth alcohol problem. This illness causes an acidic discharge from a person's stomach to their mouth, which can cause a false-positive breathalyzer test result for blood alcohol content (BAC).
Thus, you can ask the court to lower your DUI allegations to a dry reckless charge if there's medical proof that you have severe GERD. For the court to approve your plea agreement, you must present pertinent proof demonstrating that you had GERD at that time when you took the breathalyzer test.
Prove That You had Residual Mouth Alcohol While Taking the Breath Examination
Alcohol can stay inside your mouth for up to fifteen minutes, based on the kind of drink you have. Breathalyzers can detect traces of mouth alcohol, which could produce a falsely high BAC reading.
In such cases, you must convince the jury that you consumed alcohol before your DUI arrest, which is why your Blood Alcohol Content test results were high. For example, the discovery of beer cans inside your car could be significant proof that oral alcohol residue was the cause of your elevated BAC score.
Prove That the Officer did not Grant a 15-Minute Observation Period Before the Test
Before administering a DUI breathalyzer test, authorities should monitor a subject for a whole 15 minutes. As a result, if you can draw the observation into question, you can enter a dry reckless plea deal.
Most police officers pull over suspects' cars, but instead of watching them, they fill out the documentation and conduct the breathalyzer test right away. This allows you to express your discontent with whether the specified observation time was observed.
Prove that You Were Inadequately Informed of Your Constitutional Protections
Police officers are required under the United States constitution to inform accused persons of their protections while making arrests. They should inform them of their rights to remain silent, seek legal representation, or, if they are indigent, get access to a court-assigned lawyer. Additionally, they ought to warn you that everything you say could be used against you in court during the trial.
This implies that any proof that was acquired without these notices could be disregarded. This encompasses any incriminating utterances, observations made during a sobriety test, as well as biological evidence. If this type of evidence is not used in your case, the judge might agree to your dry reckless plea deal.
Show That There Was an Absence of Probable Cause to Arrest You
Law enforcement personnel are not allowed to halt or pull over regular citizens for no valid reason, according to the Constitution. This implies that before arresting an individual, the authorities should have a strong suspicion that they have violated the law.
To pull over a person for a DUI examination, traffic cops must observe behaviors such as veering off the roadway, disregarding traffic rules, or disobeying speed limits. Any additional evidence, nonetheless, is not acceptable as proof if you had not been acting in an intoxicated manner at the time of your arrest. This condition could allow you to plead guilty to dry reckless instead of DUI.
Show that DUI is not the Same as Bad Driving
Even while you may be acting in ways that point to a DUI, this does not automatically indicate that you had been intoxicated. Sometimes driving when distracted or inattentiveness results in swerving, and speeding, among other erratic behaviors. Perhaps you were using your car's music player, eating, or using your phone.
If you have been charged with DUI based on the actions listed above, you must convince the judge that you weren't drunk to have your charges reduced. This would work if the BAC levels were beneath the acceptable range, but you were nonetheless charged with DUI because of the erratic driving patterns.
How Do Dry and Wet Reckless Charges Compare?
In DUI cases, the goal of a plea agreement is to attempt to downgrade the charge from DUI to reckless driving. You can, nevertheless, settle for a wet or a dry reckless charge in exchange for your purported DUI. For someone without legal representation, these forms of reductions could be confusing. Below is an in-depth comparison between a dry reckless charge and a wet reckless charge.
Wet Reckless Driving
A wet reckless could arise as a result of a plea deal for DUI charges under the California VC 23103.5. A wet reckless charge indicates that you were driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol. Please keep in mind that the court might only indict you with a wet reckless if you consent to a plea deal with the prosecution. Wet reckless carries a jail term, termination of driving rights, and attendance in an alcohol education school as a requirement for punishment.
A wet careless conviction, however, carries a less severe punishment than a DUI. Being careless does not necessarily result in the loss of your driving privileges. Additionally, it results in a shortened probationary time and requires only brief attendance in a DUI course. Additionally, defendants who are found guilty of wet reckless pay smaller fines and are exempt from completing an SR-22 form when applying for a driving license. It could also be great for professionals who need to disclose their DUI charges.
One of the disadvantages of this kind of conviction is that it functions similarly to a DUI charge. This implies that a later conviction's penalties could be increased if the previous offense is taken into account. As a result, if you have already been found guilty of wet reckless driving, any future DUI charge would be considered a second DUI, subjecting you to significantly harsher punishments.
Wet reckless has another drawback in that it is treated as a DUI for insurance purposes by insurance carriers. As a result, your insurance will probably cost more.
What Benefits Does Dry Reckless Have Over DUI Convictions?
The phrase "dry reckless" refers to a scenario in which defendants accused of DUI plea deal the allegations down to VC 23103, reckless driving, with no mention that drugs or alcohol were involved during the arrest.
Operating a vehicle with a deliberate or wanton disdain for the security of other persons or property is referred to as "reckless driving." In comparison to a California DUI, a dry reckless conviction in California comes with several benefits. These consist of:
Repeat Dry Reckless Offenders are not Subject to Obligatory Sentencing Enhancements
The sentencing for a dry reckless doesn't inherently get longer with each charge, unlike a DUI charge. Although a court could subject you to harsher punishment if you are found guilty of negligent driving more than once, this is not a necessity as it is for consecutive DUI charges.
A Shorter County Jail Term
A dry reckless plea bargain only commits you to no more than ninety days in local jail under VC 23103. Contrarily, a California DUI can result in a maximum term of 6 months (which rises to 1 year after a 2nd or 3rd conviction).
This difference is especially significant if you violate your probationary terms. The maximum punishment you can receive for dry reckless charges is 90 days, which is less than half of the sentence you would receive for violating your probation following a DUI sentencing.
Less Time on Probation
A dry reckless charge carries a one to two-year probationary period. Contrarily, the normal probationary period for a California Driving Under the Influence charge is three to five years.
If you are unfortunate enough to get charged for another felony, like a second DUI or operating a vehicle in California while your license is revoked, this benefit (similar to the ones mentioned before) becomes extremely important. You cannot be convicted for violating probation if the probationary terms have already ended.
A Lesser Penalty
The maximum punishment for both a California DUI and a dry reckless under VC 23103 is theoretically $1,000. But when you factor in "penalty evaluations" that the court imposes, many DUI offenders wind up facing hefty fines of up to $3000.
The fines associated with a dry reckless, nevertheless, are often half or lower than what you might incur if found guilty of a DUI. Additionally, the obligatory minimum penalty for the reduced charge of dry recklessness is a mere $145 as opposed to $390 for a DUI.
There are no Mandatory Court-Ordered License Suspensions
If a defendant has previous wet reckless or DUI convictions, their license revocation is extended beyond the standard six months to a year (even though the DMV could let the accused keep driving but have an ignition interlock device installed in their cars).
However, a dry reckless plea agreement does not result in a suspended license under the California VC 23103. However, it does result in the addition of 2 points on your record, which can result in the suspension of your driver's license for negligence.
Nevertheless, you should take into account that the Department of Motor Vehicles administrative hearing—and not a criminal court procedure—is where the final determination of if a DUI defendant will forfeit his or her driver's license is rendered.
Therefore, you must succeed at the DMV as well as have your DUI counts reduced to dry reckless if you want to avoid having your license suspended.
There is no DUI School or, At Most, a Six-Week Course
If you receive a DUI charge, you must undergo an alcohol treatment course for at least three months, as well as up to 18 months when you have prior DUI convictions. There isn't any necessity if you have been charged with a dry reckless. However, the prosecution or judge could dictate that you attend a six-week course as a condition of a bargained dry reckless plea deal.
Why is a Dry Reckless Preferable to a Wet Reckless?
Another typical plea deal from DUI charges is a "wet reckless," or Vehicle Code 23103 per California Vehicle Code 23103.5.
You admit guilt under Vehicle Code 23103 reckless driving with wet reckless charge, much as you could with a dry reckless. Unfortunately, it will also be noted on your criminal record that you had been arrested on suspicion of using alcohol or drugs.
In California, a wet reckless might be viewed as the "initial stage" of a drunk driving plea agreement. In a DUI trial, the prosecution will typically present this plea agreement first. A dry reckless, nevertheless, has several significant advantages when compared to a wet reckless charge. It would be worthwhile to attempt to bargain the charges down to dry reckless charge if the prosecution gives you a wet reckless plea deal as a beginning start for negotiations.
A dry reckless has several benefits over wet reckless charges:
A Dry Reckless Charge is not "Priorable" According to California VC 23103
California DUI convictions regarded as are priorable offenses, just like wet reckless charges. This implies that your punishments will increase significantly if you are charged with either violation or be charged with a 2nd or consecutive DUI within 10 years.
A dry reckless charge, on the other hand, is not priorable—a benefit it has with VC 23109(c) display of speed, a further typical DUI plea deal. If you've been found guilty of dry reckless charges in the past and are later found guilty of DUI, the penalties you face will be similar to what first-time offenders face.
Insurance Providers “Prefer” a Dry Reckless Driving Charge
A dry reckless charge normally does not result in the termination of your auto insurance or an increase in your premiums, unlike a wet reckless or a DUI charge. A defendant should be aware that a dry reckless charge won't subject commercial or professional license holders to similar levels of scrutiny as a "wet" reckless or a DUI.
This is since a dry reckless charge is only classified as misdemeanor negligent driving. There's no obvious connection between a DUI and a conviction, unlike a wet reckless charge.
When Does the Prosecution Agree to Lower a California DUI to a Dry or Wet Reckless?
Prosecutors sometimes hesitate to propose a dry reckless for a DUI charge reduction since it is not a "priorable" charge. They often opt for a wet reckless which is a priorable offense. However, the prosecution is much most likely to accept dry reckless reductions in the following circumstances:
- Your blood alcohol content was almost at 0.08 percent; and
- The proof used against you by the prosecution had major flaws
Additional Charge Reductions Besides Wet and Dry Reckless
In addition to wet or dry reckless charges, an offender may negotiate for further charge reductions. Let us analyze them in more detail.
Exhibition of Speed
The charge reduction known as "speed ex" or "exhibition of speed" is much less prevalent in DUI cases. This form of sentence reduction is appropriate when the prosecutor's case is not very strong. It is a misdemeanor with possible fines, probationary terms, as well as jail time as penalties. Additionally, it raises the number of points on your driving record.
But in most situations, a conviction for speeding can lead to probation with a shorter term, no jail sentence, or fines as compared to a California DUI sentence. This offers it an appealing choice for the majority of DUI offenders.
Another beneficial charge reduction for DUI charges is Drunk In Public charges. It is typically used when the accused's blood-alcohol level was high yet it was unclear whether they were driving or not. It could be appropriate, for example, for an offender who was discovered unconscious inside a parked vehicle.
Being intoxicated in public is an offense that is pursued as a misdemeanor that could result in time in jail and a minor fine. It won't, nevertheless, result in negligent driving points on your record if the conduct is unrelated to driving.
Consumption of Alcohol inside a Vehicle
In some cases, your DUI conviction may be reduced to drinking in a vehicle. According to this law, it is illegal for either the driver or the passenger of a parked vehicle to consume alcohol.
Consuming alcohol inside a vehicle is affirmed if the prosecution's case is not strong enough. For example, this might be a reasonable plea agreement for any DUI charges when the accused's blood/breath test results were slightly above or at the permissible level. In this instance, the results from the chemical examination will be sufficient to raise "reasonable doubt" to put the prosecutors in a position where they wouldn't want to risk a negative result from the case.
As a final option, prosecutors often propose traffic violations as a DUI plea deal. This is a great alternative when you are reasonably certain that a DUI charge will not suffice.
Traffic infractions aren't criminal violations and only result in minor fines. Prosecutors may propose a plea bargain for Driving Under the Influence charges with two infractions. This is known as the "pair of movers." Usually, they involve a single moving violation which can be settled through traffic school while also accruing DMV points against the motorist's record.
For example, if the prosecutor believes there were too many violations of Title 17 regulations and their expert was unable to authenticate the chemical tests, they can propose movers as part of your plea deal.
Find a Pasadena DUI Defense Attorney Near Me
It is critical to retain the services of a DUI attorney following your arrest. You can avert major legal repercussions by understanding your allegations as well as your legal alternatives with the assistance of an attorney. The Michele Ferroni Pasadena Criminal Attorney Law Firm is aware of how the local courts in Pasadena operate and what the prosecution is attempting to prove to bring allegations against you. To have an expert review your case, please contact us at 626-628-0564.