Written by attorney Jonathan Andrew Paul

Michigan DUI Arrest - Turning a DUI Charge into a Non-DUI Outcome

When a potential DUI client contacts me, the first thing they want to know is whether or not it is possible to turn a drunk driving charge into a non-drunk driving charge. They usually bring up reckless or careless driving as goals. Let's get this out of the way first.

Reckless driving actually has potentially worse license sanctions, is still a misdemeanor, and carries 6 points, and might be worse on your driving record/car insurance.

Careless driving is a civil infraction, and there can be no probation on a civil outcome, so this is very unlikely to happen for a DUI case.

I usually don't even consider those outcomes for potential DUI cases, but rather focus on a different outcome. The unique charge I pursue is disorderly conduct. This type of outcome achieves a few things.

1 - There is no direct impact on your driver's license with this outcome. This means no points, suspensions or restrictions.

2 - It has no direct impact on your car insurance or driving record.

3 - It is not a DUI conviction, which many people few as a stigma, and these type of charges add up to become more serious offenses. A DUI second offense has a seven year window, a felony DUI third has a lifetime window. Avoiding a DUI early on, avoids the next one (if it happens) from people more serious.

4 - It still allows the person to go on probation, which doesn't sound ideal, but no prosecutor or judge are going to throw out a DUI and let you walk out of the courthouse with no supervision. After all, they don't want to be blamed if someone has a DUI dismissed, and then they get in their car and cause a newsworthy story.

All cases and facts are different, and it depends on the judge and prosecutor, but it's very possible, because I've done it multiple times in my practice. It's a mix of going above and beyond on my proactive program, timing and identifying key weaknesses in the prosecutions case.

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