You Must Have The Right Type of Cases
Many people ask this question because they've been arrested for a DUI. They don't want to have a DUI conviction on their record. They don't want to see that Vehicle Code Section 23152 on there.
They'd rather see some other charge because they know the stigma that DUI carries around with them should they have to plead guilty or no contest to it. There are lesser charges that Los Angeles prosecutors will allow some people charged with DUIs to pray to. The problem is, and I think the confusion is, that people often think they will get to plead to a lesser charge.
They think that's a standard practice that they get to plead to a lesser charge, and then they get some rookie attorney who has promised them all these things, and that attorney doesn't have the skill set or the proper case to be able to get a lesser charge.
The first thing is you have to have the proper case. The person has to have a clean record. There can't be an accident or injury. The blood-alcohol level can't be that high.
If you've got double the legal limit and you think you'll get a lesser charge in Los Angeles County, you're just dreaming.
It's not going to happen, and these lawyers who are tricking people and lying to them to get their money are doing them a disservice.
If you're double the legal limit, you're trying to avoid much more harsh penalties than what usually comes with a first-time DUI. So, the available charges are only available to those with the right circumstance and the right attorney to mount a strong argument for a lesser amount.
Some of the lesser charges, going in descending order, would be a wet reckless. A wet reckless is very close to a first-time DUI, but it is one notch down from a DUI.
If you had a choice in LA county between a VC 23152(a) or (b) or a 23109(c) or a wet reckless, you'd want the wet reckless over the full-fledged DUI.
The prosecutors will often make you do all the same punishments as a first-time DUI to get that wet reckless. They'll make you do an alcohol program and be on probation for three years. But obviously, having a lesser charge is better than having a more strict control.
Moving down from there, I would say a dry reckless would be the next notch down. Those are very difficult to get in LA county when you've been arrested for a DUI and the prosecutors file the DUI charge against you.
You'd have to show that your blood alcohol level was close to the legal limit or even under the legal limit, and you were not dangerous out on the road, and you didn't completely fail the field sobriety test, then you might have a chance to get that dry reckless.
Another charge that I see is what is called a speed exhibition. That's one where you're screeching your tires out of a parking lot, for example, non-DUI-related/non-alcohol-related.
More of a moving violation, in my opinion. Still a misdemeanor, but you'd much rather have that than a full-fledged DUI. I see many prosecutors in LA county being willing to offer that, but you're going to have to be right on the legal limit.
Your blood alcohol is going to have to be a .08, .07. You might say, Mr. Hedding, how can I be charged with a DUI if I'm a .07? That's below the legal limit.
You could be charged with that, and I see some people set it because Vehicle Code Section 23152(a) doesn't mention the legal limit. It talks about having alcohol in your system and not driving a motor vehicle safely.
So, if you blew a .07 and cash into a pole and failed the field sobriety test, then the police will arrest you for a DUI, and the prosecutor will probably file that case.
If, on the other hand, you were just grabbed coming out of a bar, and you weren't doing anything wrong, and you don't have a criminal record. You blew a .07, we might even be able to avoid a filing in that case, and if they do file it, a speed contest or something else might be a good option.
The only other resolution I've seen besides a dismissal if they don't have the evidence against you as far as looking for a lesser charge would be moving violations.
I've had some clients blow right on the legal limit, no record, did pretty well on the field sobriety test, even according to the police.
Police often like to jimmy those up and claim you've done every time someone takes the field sobriety test. They do that because if they don't do that, they can't justify arresting you.
They're not allowed to arrest you unless they say you failed the field sobriety test. That gives them the probable cause to take you into custody.
So, they're always saying you failed the field sobriety test. But I have gotten moving violations for people who are right on the cusp, don't want to risk going to trial, and the prosecutors realize they can lose, then sometimes they will knuckle under.
So, if you're looking for someone who's done thousands of DUIs over the last 26 years, you've come to the right place.
Pick up the phone, and ask to speak to Ron Hedding. I stand ready to help you and will do everything to get you the best result.
Hedding Law Firm is a criminal defense law firm located in Los Angeles County at 16000 Ventura Blvd #1208 Encino, CA 91436.