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What activities (before trial) can DUI defendants perform to help reduce charges and/or punishment?

Henrico, VA |

I recently was arrested for a DUI in Virginia. My job involves having a security clearance and it requires that I report my arrest the next working day, which I did. Company policy revoked my clearance temporarily so that I can complete a substance abuse program and then have it reinstated upon completion of the program (takes about 6 weeks). My court date was prior to completion of the program so my attorney requested (and was granted) a continuance so that my clearance can be reinstated. The next court date is in 40 days. My attorney advised that performing community service, attending AA meetings could also help get the charges reduced. What else can defendants do to help reduce charges and/or punishment? Thank you for your time.

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Attorney answers 3


That's a great question, but it assumes that you and your attorney have decided that "mitigation" and not "litigation" is your best course of action.

I have rarely found that doing community service hours, AA or other things get charges reduced. Your lawyer needs to find holes in the state's case before that is on the table. That said, sometimes those types of mitigating factors, along with a "resume" of your good conduct can play a role in staying off enhanced sentencing, but most states have minimum sentences for DUIs.

Good Luck.

Every case and situation is different and vary greatly depending on specific facts. My posts are not to be considered complete answers to each question. My posts do not constitute an attorney/client relationship. I am only licensed to practice in the State of Florida and in federal courts. Florida Bar #337821, admitted 1982.


Generally, a DUI is not like a speeding ticket where you can do things in advance (like driving school) to get a reduction. DUIs are rarely reduced in Virginia unless there are some weaknesses in the evidence. As always, there may be a few exceptions; maybe a particular judge or prosecutor is amenable to reducing the charge based on mitigation and character. Your attorney knows your case and the circumstances surrounding it. He or she also knows what works best with the particular judge(s) and/or prosecutor(s) involved in the case. You should consult with your attorney about whether your case is in a court where it may be reduced by doing things in advance, and what things you should do.


Most prosecutors pursue DUI charges rather aggressively. The best hope of getting the charge reduced is to show the prosecutor how the facts of his case are weak. Absent that, it will depend on how the judge rules at your trial based on the defense that you present.

As has been suggested in the other answers here, the steps you are taking now have more of an impact on the eventual sentence of your case, not the facts. You need to talk with your attorney about the facts of your case and how you may defend against them.

By responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and Garrett Law Group, PLC. Responses should be considered and used for informational purposes only. Every case is unique in its facts, and all legal matters should be discussed with a licensed attorney prior to making any decisions or taking any actions.

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