2 separate charges, DUI and refusal. DUI was dropped in court but my license is suspended for a year due to the Refusal. Should I try the reckless or stay with the refusal? Which one looks better? I could also get the license back in 6 months with VASAP if I choose the reckless route.Sorry let me clarify a little further, I have already been to court and found not guilty of the DUI charge. The arresting deputy did not put the print out of the refusals in the packet which my lawyer had requested and the trial was postponed for about 2 months. This is where I am a little confused; should the refusal have been thrown out with my DUI as well? To top the whole situation I wasn't drunk when the incident took place, I came home and polished off a bottle (I know how ridiculous that sounds but I really didn't know what else to do.) So now I have no license for school or work and have been convicted of a crime for not wanting to self-incriminate myself. I was seeking outside help because I have been incredibly lucky with an outstanding lawyer who is an above par and very respectable, I believe this is an excellent source for a different opinion. I only have about 6 days left to ‘challenge’ the ruling.
The scenario you describe is unusual and I suspect you misunderstood your attorney. Generally, when an offer of reckless driving of made by a prosecutor in a DWI case, it is to reduced the DWI to reckless, but structure the sentence to mirror that of a DWI conviction. The refusal charge is then dropped. The benefit of reckless over a DWI conviction is that your license would be suspended for 6 months instead of one year and reckless looks better to insurance companies, security clearance investigators, and potential employers. I would not expect to receive an offer of reckless driving on a refusal charge, but I suppose it is not impossible if you agree to it.
You may want to check with your lawyer to make sure you understood correctly and the offer is still on the table. Your attorney is the person who can best advise you of the pros and cons of each type of conviction based on your personal circumstances.
Your question is a bit confusing. The refusal is a civil penalty punishable by a loss of license & you cannot get a restricted license with a refusal conviction. DUI is criminal in nature & the reckless was probably offered as a deal. Typically they would get rid of the refusal for a plea agreement on the DUI.
I'm confused as to what your outcome in the General District Court was. Was the DUI dismissed or null prossed? You can be found guilty of refusal to take the breath test without being found guilty of the DUI. The Code of Virginia allows a judge to dismiss the refusal if you plead guilty to a DUI. Prosecutors will often agree to drop a refusal if you plead guilty to a DUI. However, a DUI is a criminal conviction. Refusal is not. Also note, you can appeal the disposition of convictions you were unhappy with. In other words, you can appeal one conviction without appealing the other.
I have provided a few links that may be helpful. Your lawyer should be able to tell you more.
Good luck with your case and I'm glad you lawyered up.
Responding to questions on AVVO does not establish an attorney-client relationship between the questioner and Peter John Louie, P.C., a law firm specializing in Reckless Driving Defense. 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.
I have had this situation happen several times before where I have won the Dwi at trial but lost the refusal. We then appealed the refusal and I negotiated with the prosecutor to engage in a legal afiction and amend the refusal to reckless in order to avoid the inherent twelve month hard suspension of driving priveleges. However, if you win the Dwi on a motion to supress, then the refusal should have been dismissed as well.
A first-offense refusal is a civil violation with a mandatory loss of license for 1 year (with no restricted license). There is no other punishment. Conversely, a Reckless Driving conviction is a misdemeanor. The maximum license suspension on a Reckless, however, is only 6 months, AND you could get a restricted license.
So, in my opinion, the refusal "looks" better, BUT the downside is a full year of walking and getting rides. I'm sure your lawyer has explained these differences to you. Good luck!
First things first, yes, it is possible to be found not guilty of DWI and guilty of Unreasonable Refusal. These are two separate offenses with different sets of elements. They can operate independently of each other. However, if you were to win the DWI base on a motion to suppress, then the event triggering the Unreasonable Refusal arose from an unlawful state action. Likewise, the two would be inextricably linked insofar as they would both go away. In your current situation, you have 10 days from the date of adjudication to appeal to the decision (assuming this trial occurred in General District Court). If you appeal the conviction to Circuit Court, you will have a de novo appeal where you can fight the charge or attempt to negotiate a legal fiction with the prosecutor. You should hire a local lawyer (or use your current lawyer) to discuss these various options.
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