Can My DWI/DUI Be Reduced to Reckless Driving in Louisiana?
Can My DWI/DUI Be Reduced to Reckless Driving in Louisiana? If you’re wondering if a DUI or DWI charge can be reduced to reckless driving in Louisiana, this is the right place to find out. Say that you’re in Louisiana on a business trip, and you and some new associates knock back a few drinks after a long day at your convention. You drive the short distance back to your hotel in your rental car only to be pulled over for drunk driving. After failing a breathalyzer and a few field sobriety tests, you are arrested on a DUI charge. And now, your whole life has changed in the blink of an eye.
DUI/DWI Laws in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, if you are 21 or over and test with a blood alcohol content level or “BAC” of 0.08% or more, you would be charged with a DUI. If you are under 21, a BAC level only needs to be 0.02% or more to be charged. If you refuse a chemical test, that could lead you to be fined and have your license automatically suspended for six months. For more offenses, you would earn a two-day jail sentence.
For a first offense of a DUI, you would have your license suspended for 90 days, a $1000 fine, and you must pay for legal proceedings. You can also get up to six months of prison time. For a second offense, there would be up to a year of jail time. On a third offense, your license would be suspended for two years, you would have to pay a $2000 fine, and you may have to serve up to five years of prison time. You would begin a felony criminal record which will follow you the rest of your life, making getting a job or renting a home or car very difficult.
In Louisiana, if you are charged with a fifth DUI/DWI offense, you could face up to a $5000 fine, a maximum of 30 years in prison, two years of a suspended license, and you must go through a mandatory substance abuse treatment. You would also face home incarceration and community service.
Getting Charges Reduced
The more DUI or DWI offenses you get, the less likely you would get any leniency on your sentence. However, if you’re a first-time offender, your lawyer could get your DUI charges reduced on a plea bargain. That plea bargain depends on the prosecutor and what they’re willing to agree to, but it is possible to get what’s called a “wet reckless” charge, a variation of a reckless driving charge. This means a plea bargain has been agreed to where one gets a lesser reckless driving charge, with the word “wet” referring to the charge not involving driving under the influence.
The possibility of this reduction hinges on how severe the charge is and also on past offenses. In Louisiana, there is no statutory provision, so the decision must come from the work of an experienced criminal defense attorney skilled at getting such charges reduced.
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In Louisiana and all over the US, there are strict guidelines about impaired driving. However, BAC levels can vary based on a person’s weight, sex, number of drinks, and other factors. Also, in different jurisdictions, Louisiana DUI law can be applied differently about DUI matters, so the sentences carried down by judges can vary based on the location. A very seasoned DUI lawyer experienced in various jurisdictions to know how they’ll act can make all the difference to what happens in such cases. Even though the legal representation can be costly, in the lost run, it will be worth it, especially if the lawyer can get the charge reduced to a “wet reckless” and take the alcohol factor off the table completely.
What Are the Chances of Getting a “Wet Reckless” Charge Reduction?
Prosecutors aren’t willing to reduce charges of reckless driving unless there are significant mitigating factors, or if the evidence is weak. The special factors could be that it’s the person’s first DUI, the person has no criminal record, and the BAC level was low. If there are aggravating factors, like that another person or property was injured because of that person’s drunk driving behavior, it would diminish the chance for a wet reckless plea deal.
When there’s a problem with the evidence, prosecutors worry they cannot prove the charges in court, and so instead of risking losing altogether, they may offer the defendant a favorable deal like the wet reckless, a lesser charge with consequences that aren’t as severe.
The types of evidentiary problems are numerous. They usually relate to the uncertainty concerning proving the defendant’s BAC level.
Why a “Wet Reckless” Charge is Desirable
If you get this plea deal of a wet reckless charge, you will face less penalties than a regular DUI charge. Your fines will be lower, and you will have to serve less overall jail time than if you got a DUI conviction. Also, unlike a DUI conviction where there’s a mandatory six-month license suspension minimum, a wet reckless requires less time of suspension, giving you freedom a lot sooner.
Although the wet reckless reduction is favorable, if there’s a second DUI charge, the wet reckless will be viewed as a first offense and you will suffer the penalties of a second charge and be considered a repeat offender.
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CONCLUSION: Can My DWI/DUI Be Reduced to Reckless Driving in Louisiana?
If you are facing the serious charge of a DUI or a DWI in Louisiana, you must consider your options. Hopefully, you first call the most experienced lawyer in town who has worked plenty of cases in the jurisdiction where you’re charged. This attorney will know the ever-changing laws inside and out and will be much more successful than you tried to defend yourself. Your attorney’s goal should be to attempt to get the DUI charge reduced to a “wet reckless”, a lesser reckless driving infraction. That will buy you on a first offense fewer penalties so you can get back to your normal life relatively unscathed. Be fair warned: if you keep getting caught drunk driving, even the best attorney cannot get a judge to agree to a lesser wet reckless charge. The best thing to do is to remain sober while driving, having a designated driver if you’re drinking or spending the night wherever you are. But if you’re caught and charged with a DUI, it is technically possible for a sentence reduction to reckless driving under the right circumstances in the state of Louisiana.
For information on how can my DWI/DUI be reduced to reckless driving in Louisiana, please visit the website of Barkemeyer Law Firm.