Written by attorney Mitchell Scott Sexner

Reduced DUI charges in Illinois

Is it possible to traffic or criminal charges reduced to a lesser offense? The short answer is that it depends. Ultimately it depends on whether a prosecutor is willing to grant the reduction because a judge cannot reduce a charge in a plea negotiation. Typically, a prosecutor will ask the defense to provide a letter in mitigation explaining why a person is deserving of a reduced charge. A letter in mitigation usually includes some reference letters attesting to a person’s good character and remorse for their actions. A younger defendant should try to include letters from teachers and transcripts and documentation of school activities. In certain situations, under the advice of counsel, a letter of apology may even be appropriate.

Before asking a prosecutor for a reduced charge, you should confer with your attorney to determine what reduced charge or lesser offense you are willing to accept to resolve the case. Are you willing to take a plea on a reduced charge simply to save time and money or are there other considerations? Are the potential consequences of the current charge so severe that taking a lesser charge is the better option? Are you willing to serve a jail sentence for a lesser offense? These are questions you need to discuss with your attorney before entering into a negotiation for a reduced charge.

A prosecutor considers many factors when weighing a request for a lesser offense. One example is when the prosecution’s case is not very strong and so the government may be more inclined to offer a lesser charge to resolve a case more quickly in order to avoid a trial. The prosecution may also be motivated to reduce a charge if there’s an uncooperative witness who refuses to testify in a trial. If there’s an injured party, then the prosecution will normally consult with the complainant before offering a reduced charge. In a case involving property damage, a prosecutor may require that restitution be paid upfront as a condition for a lesser charge. Also, expressing a willingness to undergo counseling or treatment in certain circumstances can be very persuasive. Finally, a person’s lack of criminality and age can also be strong factors in mitigation that will and should be considered. In the end, getting your charges reduced is never a guarantee but it is often worthwhile to have an experienced attorney pursue such a resolution

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If you, a family member or friend has been charged with any criminal or traffic matter, we urge you to contact an experienced attorney. Such an attorney will carefully evaluate your case and explain the legal options available to you at no charge.

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