It may be possible to avoid a criminal conviction, depending on several factors. Of course, no attorney can guarantee a particular result, but if you do not have any priors and the facts of your case are not too horrific, then there is a good chance a prosecutor would be willing to work with you in a way to allow you to a criminal conviction (or at the very least, a conviction to the DWI). It may be helpful to you if you hired an attorney to negotiate on your behalf (obtain a public defender if you qualify); however, it is not mandatory that you have an attorney...only recommended.
Many times a prosecutor may be willing to offer a continuance for dismissal, where you would go through a probationary period with many DWI conditions. At the end, if you successfully complete everything, the prosecution will drop the case.
Another option is having the prosecution amend the charge to reckless driving (commonly referred to as a "wet reckless"). In this situation, you may end up with a conviction for the reckless driving, but not the DWI.
Of course, depending on the facts, it may be advisable to challenge one or more of the aspects of the DWI. Perhaps after a thorough review of all the evidence it is determined that the police didn't follow procedure. In this instance, there are motions which could be filed with the court challenging some, or all, of the evidence. If the motions are granted, the prosecution may not be able to proceed and there would be a dismissal.
As you can see, there are many options out there. Without a careful review of the facts and evidence it is impossible to say which option(s) would be best for your case.
If you find this information helpful and would wish to discuss this case further, please feel free to contact me. I wish you the best of luck.
Your stated goal of avoiding a conviction will best be served by talking to one or more attorneys in your area who are qualified in the area of DUI defense. There are usually multiple options that may be available, having experienced counsel to assist you is essential.
First you need to hire a criminal defense attorney to defend you on the criminal charge of DUI. There are lesser included offenses that you allude to, but are only relevant if the prosecutor sees a weakness in the prosecution of the DUI charge. An experienced lawyer will review the file and see if any amendments are possible. Don't count your chickens before the eggs hatch. Attack the DUI case first and only then consider amendments to the charge.
I am trying to give you a general answer to your question. We do not have an attorney-client relationship by this response on the avvo website. I have not been retained to represent you. I am licensed to practice law in Kentucky and in federal court in this state and the Southern District of Indiana. You need to seek legal advice from an attorney licensed to practice in your area..