How Often Are DUI Charges Reduced?
Whether someone gets a DUI or DWI conviction, the legal process for those charges can be overwhelming or exhausting for them. In these cases involving drunk driving charges, the person may contact an experienced lawyer to get the right assistance so that they don't get a permanent criminal record.
Overall, getting a permanent record for reckless driving can harm a person's personal life and professional reputation, which is something challenging to fix. The best thing to do to avoid getting misdemeanor charges would be to avoid reckless driving altogether, but some circumstances may still get a person DUI or DWI charges.
Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce felony DWI charges. In most cases, hiring an experienced DWI attorney in Fort Worth TX may be the best thing to do to get the DUI or DWI dismissed. Still, there are some particular factors that may influence whether the person can get those charges reduced or not.
Anyone who wants to avoid getting a Texas Criminal Record may keep reading this article for more information on how DUI and DWI charges may get dismissed through the assistance of an experienced DWI lawyer.
What Is a DUI or DWI Conviction for Drunk Driving?
Some people may have a bit of trouble understanding what getting a DUI or DWI conviction means. While DUIs and DWIs are similar, they don't always mean the same thing.
DUI stands for 'Driving Under the Influence.' According to Texas law enforcement agencies, people may get a DUI for driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. It's vital to note that the person doesn't have to be fully intoxicated to get criminal charges. As long as the police officer has reasonable suspicion of what the person is consuming, they may request drug or alcohol testing done as soon as possible.
Field sobriety tests, on the other hand, involve three different tests that measure the person's balance, coordination, or ability to drive. Once the office is done providing that test, they may request blood samples, which are done to measure a person's blood-alcohol concentration. If it's above the legal limit specified for Texas, the arresting officer has the legal right to press charges.
On the other hand, a DWI stands for 'Driving While Intoxicated or Impaired.' This means that, if the officer has reason to believe someone is drunk driving, they can get the person charged with a DWI charge for reckless driving.
It's vital to note that a DWI case may often involve public intoxication, which can put many people's lives at risk. In these cases, the police officer may choose to request a test from a breath test machine or a blood sample to test for alcohol levels.
In Texas, someone can be considered legally intoxicated if their blood-alcohol concentration is 0.08% or above. Overall, people can still get charged for DUIs if they are found driving under the influence of any alcoholic beverages, but if the officer finds that the person can't drive properly, they may press DWI charges directly.
Can DUIs or DWIs Get Reduced or Dismissed?
Unfortunately, the data for DUI and DWI charges in Texas is a bit challenging to interpret. According to studies, a significant number of people opt for a guilty plea deal once they get a DWI charge for reckless driving. However, some people don't opt for a guilty plea bargain. Out of those cases, approximately 30% of people get a DWI reduction, whereas 10 to 15% get their DWI charges dismissed.
Logically, if someone makes a guilty plea bargain, they're not going to get their DWI in Texas dismissed.
What Does the Data Say About the DWI Offense Dismissal Rate?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) made a study where it concluded that several states don't track DUI/DWI reduction or conviction rates. Overall, some of the reasons include that if law enforcement agencies were to track DWI dismissal rates and the data showed that the state had a low rate of convictions, drunk drivers wouldn't plead guilty.
On the other hand, a study from 2016 made by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) mentioned that over 88,000 DWI arrests were made that year, but over those 88,000, 84,157 cases were taken to court. Out of those 84,154 cases, at least 63% of people made a guilty plea request.
That data leaves approximately 53,000 people who didn't plea guilty. 70% of these people got convicted, 30% got convicted on reduced charges, and about 13% got a DWI dismissal entirely.
How Often Does a DUI or DWI Charge Get Reduced in Texas?
As mentioned before, it can be a bit hard to tell how often a Texas DWI charge gets reduced or dismissed. Several factors may affect how these criminal cases unfold. If someone is getting a first offense DWI, for example, they may have an easier time getting a DWI dismissal or at least avoid harsher penalties.
The best way to get a Texas DWI charge reduced is to talk to a DWI lawyer so that they can consider every scenario that could lead to a favorable outcome for everyone. Still, it's important to note that working with the right legal representation doesn't ensure a reduced DUI or DWI charge. If it's proven that the person arrested was, in fact, driving any motor vehicle while intoxicated, it may be virtually impossible to get these DUI or DWI charges reduced.
A plea bargaining may help some particular cases get a reduced jail sentence, but again, that depends on the case's circumstances and who the defense attorney is.
What Circumstances Can Get a Case Dismissed or Reduced?
The best way to get DWI cases reduced is to plead not guilty. If the person does that, the defense attorney may work with the prosecutor to reach a favorable outcome. As mentioned before, people who plead guilty in a DUI or DWI case may not likely get charges reduced or dismissed.
Some lawyers encourage the person to ask for an ALR Hearing, which is also known as an Adjudicated License Revocation Hearing. Here, a judge will determine if the person who got arrested should get their license suspended. Typically, a person who gets stopped by the police gets a temporary license which expires within 40 days. However, if the person requests an ALR hearing within 15 days of the incident, they may keep driving until the hearing happens. Find out here how long after a DUI can you get a CDL.
Overall, people at an ALR hearing (with help from their lawyer) may show law enforcement agencies and the judge the reasons why they may not suspend the person's license. In this case, there are many things the lawyer can use to prove that.
Some of those methods include the following:
Some cases involve invalid traffic stops, and if the lawyer can prove that it was the case, they may help the person keep their driver's license. On the other hand, a lawyer may be able to prove that the officer didn't have reasonable suspicion for stopping the person. In essence, police officers need as much proof as possible to show that someone broke the law; if they're basing their entire case in hunches, it may not apply for a DWI in Texas.
Generally speaking, the police officer must consider particular scenarios and reasons that may justify that the person was, in fact, committing a crime.
Invalid Field Sobriety Tests
As mentioned before, a field sobriety test is mostly requested by police officers when they believe the person is driving while intoxicated. However, some scenarios may imply that the officer didn't administer the test correctly, which would render it invalid for the court of law.
Invalid Breath or Blood Test
As with the field sobriety tests, a Texas DWI lawyer may be able to prove that the administered breath or blood test was improperly administered. A blood test, for example, must be provided by a certified technician or healthcare professional; if this doesn't happen, the test results may be invalid in a court of law.
Moreover, breath tests may sometimes provide inaccurate results. While that's a bit more challenging to prove, it's still something a lawyer can use to help reduce or dismiss a DUI or DWI case.
A lawyer may be able to point out certain discrepancies in the officer's testimony. If they're successful with this method, they may render the testimony invalid, which can also help get a lesser offense or avoid the charge altogether.
Proving There Wasn't Probable Cause
Probable cause happens when there is the belief that someone committed a criminal action, considering relevant circumstances or facts. As with reasonable suspicions, the officer must rely on facts rather than hunches.
Getting a Lesser Charge
Depending on the case, some lawyers may request their clients to ask for plea bargaining. A plea bargaining is a negotiation the attorney makes with the state to reduce the charges to a lesser crime. If someone has a prior criminal record, for example, this method may be a great option to consider.
Some of these charges may involve the following:
As the name implies, reckless driving happens when someone (willfully) disregards their own (and other people's) safety or property while on the road. Overall, if a law office can reduce a DWI case to reckless driving, the state may recognize it as a misdemeanor, which involves a fairly lower sentence.
Obstruction of a Passageway
Here, the driver may be blocking a roadway or sidewalk illegally. While it may be difficult reducing charges to an obstruction of a passageway, some cases allow the attorney to reach this outcome. As with reckless driving, this charge comes with a much lower penalty than a DUI or DWI.
The person is severely intoxicated or impaired due to excessive consumption of alcohol, which implies they may be a danger to themselves or other people around. According to Texas law, this is a Class C misdemeanor, which logically, comes with a lower penalty.
What Happens In Case an Underaged Person Gets DUIs or DWIs?
According to the Texas Alcohol Beverage Code, people under the age of 21 can't drive motor vehicles under any circumstances if they're intoxicated. This happens due to Texas's zero-tolerance law, which states that there's no 'legal limit' for alcohol levels in underage people.
Overall, underage minors can be charged with an underage DWI. Thankfully, minors may have more options to reduce their penalties. Some methods, for example, include taking defensive driving courses or mandatory alcohol awareness classes. The matter of how much DUI classes cost depends on the hours of the program or other factors. Either way, hiring the right legal representation can significantly help the minor get a reduced charge.
On the other hand, if the person is making their first DWI offense, the law offices may use that as an argument to help reduce the charges.
What Penalties Can Someone Expect from a DUI or DWI in Texas?
It mostly depends on the circumstances of the arrest and whether it's the person's first, second, or third offense. In Texas, someone who gets a DUI or DWI for the first time may expect a fine of $2,000 and up to six months of jail time, as well as losing their driver's license for at least six months.
On the other hand, a second offense may involve a $4,000 fine and up to a year in jail time, and a third offense may lead to a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
It's vital to note that DWI cases may also involve court costs and additional fees that may increase the fine amount much more.
Hiring an Experienced DWI Defense Attorney In Texas | Sparks Law Firm
As mentioned throughout this page, hiring a law office after getting a DUI or DWI can greatly help the chances of getting a reduced or dismissed sentence. In this particular case, the attorneys at the Sparks Law Firm can provide a free case evaluation where they can start developing a good attorney-client relationship and seek the most positive outcome possible.
In essence, a good attorney can help people understand their rights, their options, and any other detail that the officer won't tell them once they arrest them. Anyone looking to get the best outcome possible for their case may request a free consultation from the Sparks Law Firm in Fort Worth, Texas.