I was arrested for a DUI in Alameda County , California . I was driving over the speed limit with a . 09 bac . This is my first offense , I have a clean driving and criminal record , I was respectful to the arresting officers , I am a high school teacher . This is already going to cost me an arm and a leg . I cringe at the 1 - 2K that an attorney will cost me , especially if it is fairly standard to give first time low BAC offenders a wet reckless anyway . My question : is it possible or advisable to ask the DA at the arraignment whether a Wet Reckless deal is possible before I retain an attorney ? I am at peace with the fact that I am not going to get the charges dismissed , but I am also a good defendant and have no past record of bad behavior so I do feel somewhat deserving of a reduction .
I would still ask for the public defender and see what they can do. The fines, penalties assessment and fees for a first time DUI, even a wet reckless, can run over a thousand dollars. A wet reckless still requires you to attend a first offender program for three months and this charge will remain on your driving record for 10 years, because a wet reckless still qualifies as a DUI for DMV purposes. That 10 years of higher insurance premiums, so I hope you're driving a Kia and not a Corvette! I don't know if you will have to have the breathalyzer device installed in your car on a wet reckless, but the PD would know for sure. You might cringe at spending a thousand or two on an attorney, but over the long run it's a bargain.
You are not doing yourself much of a favor by reducing it to wet reckless. As wet reckless counts as a DUI prior, it has a DUI program, and slightly lower fines. Under some circumstances it may be a good idea, but the facts of your case need to be examined by an experienced DUI attorney to see if a wet reckless is your bet option.
Could your DUI be lowered to a non-DUI misdemeanor offense, an infraction, or even dismissed? A good DUI attorney may be able to do that for you. Doing a cost-benefit analysis is personal. Regardless, it is almost always better to go with a good DUI lawyer that to try to do it yourself.
Law Offices of Tony M. Seyfi
It is possible, but you might be selling yourself short. If the stop was unlawful, you might be able to get the case dismissed.
Beyond that though, you also have to deal with the DMV hearing. Getting it reduced in court won't remove a suspension in your driving record unless it is an acquittal after trial or a specific type if plea. For DMV hearing purposes, there is no negotiation. You need a defense sufficient to win the hearing. With a .09 BAC, you will likely need to hire an expert witness. If that is the case, you will need to har familiarity with how to conduct direct examination if an expert.
Either way, is it something you could do? Absolutely, if you are willin to put the time and energy into effectively putting the case together. Should you do it? I would suggest, not. If you requested a DMV hearing, or can do so still, that is the best tool for most DUI lawyers to do their investigation. It allows us to gather most of the relevant information and cross-examine officers before the DA knows about the case.
As far as attorney fees go, if successful, you can make that up trough reduces fines etc. DUI fines can a average around $2k-$2,500 on a first offense, depending on county. Fines on a wet are substantially lower, as are fines for a "dry".
Best of luck.
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