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What Are Some Possible Lower Charges in DUI Cases?

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | Aug 01, 2022

Many people who are charged with driving under the influence or DUI are worried about getting a California Vehicle Code 23152 VC DUI on their record, and they should be because it's a misdemeanor. 

It will affect your driving privileges and a whole host of other things that a criminal court can do if you get a DUI on your record.  So, trying to lower the case to something less than a DUI is a good idea.

To get an administrative hearing about your driver's license suspension, you must contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within ten days of your arrest.

If convicted of VC 23152, you could do up to a year in jail if it's a misdemeanor case and up to three years in prison for a felony case.  If you cause great bodily injury (GBI), that's another three years on top of the original sentence for the felony DUI.

The crime of DUI causing injury is covered under California Vehicle Code 23153 as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causing physical harm to another person.

There is a lot at stake.  Your driver's license could be suspended for many months, depending on whether it's your first, second, third, or fourth DUI

Your future is at stake because if a potential employer sees that you have a DUI on your record, you will most likely not be offered the job. You want to do everything you can if you get arrested for a DUI to make sure that you properly defend yourself. 

This means hiring the best criminal attorney you can find with the knowledge and skill to fight DUI cases. A lawyer who has dealt with the prosecutor on drunk driving cases. There are numerous factors to consider. Let's review it below.

What Are the Potential Lesser Charges?

So, you have to have an idea of what you could lower the case down to.  For example, a Vehicle Code 23103.5 VC wet reckless is something the case can be lowered down. 

That's probably the next rung under an actual full-fledged DUI case.  It's still priorable, meaning they could count it as the second if you get another DUI, but it's certainly better than having a DUI on your criminal record.

California Vehicle Code 23103.5 VC wet reckless

Another thing you could lower your DUI case down to is a Vehicle Code 23109(a) VC speed contest, which means that you screech your tires out of a parking lot, and you shouldn't have a DUI.  That's not priorable.  Another is Vehicle Code 23109(c) VC exhibition of speed.

That would be better than a full-fledged DUI on your criminal record, and that's not easy to do unless your blood alcohol level is close to the legal limit.

The next thing that I think you could lower your case would be Vehicle Code 23103 VC dry reckless, meaning you were driving recklessly on the road but didn't have any alcohol in your system.  That's not a DUI; that's not priorable. 

That would be a much better charge than a DUI, but it is not easy to get.  Your attorney would have to show that your blood alcohol level was very close to the legal limit, you weren't driving dangerously, you don't have any prior DUIs on your record, and you passed some field sobriety tests.  That's another idea.

Another one is if you got a moving violation.  One time I had an attorney who didn't want to get a DUI on his record because he was concerned that the state bar would discipline him. 

His blood alcohol level was very close to the legal limit.  He had no prior criminal record, and I convinced the prosecutors to give him two moving violations, which put a couple of points on his record but didn't give him the DUI he couldn't have for his bar license.

What Are Some Related California Offenses for DUI?

What Factors Determine the Penalties in DUI Cases?

If you are convicted of VC 23152 driving under the influence, the penalties will depend on different factors, such as injuries and prior DUIs on your record. In the case of a misdemeanor for DUI causing injury, the potential penalties include:

  • Up to one year in county jail,
  • A fine of up to $5,000,
  • Alcohol or drug program,
  • Driver's license suspension,

So, you have to look at the facts and circumstances of your case.  If you blew a high blood alcohol level, you've got prior convictions on your record, and you were driving dangerously, it's going to be an actual tough argument for your attorney to get anything better than a DUI.

What Factors Determine the Penalties in DUI Cases?

You might get some enhancements and other bad punishments if driving dangerously on the road.  That's what it's all about. 

If you're trying to get something less than a DUI and are looking for ideas to do that, you've got to help your attorney mount the argument that you are not dangerous on the road, realizing the prosecutors, police, and judges are there to protect the public. 

So, the better argument you can make – no, you aren't dangerous, no, you don't fit in that category of hazardous drivers, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are petitioning against, such as:

  • you're more of a person who made a mistake;
  • your blood alcohol level wasn't high;
  • you weren't driving dangerously;
  • you were very cooperative with the police. 

Then, you're positioned to mount the argument that you should get something less than a DUI.

So, if you need the best, you've come to the right place.  Let my 30 years of experience go to work for you.  Pick up the phone now and set up a meeting with Ron Hedding.

I invite you to come and sit down with me.  I've been doing this for nearly three decades.  The Hedding Law Firm provides a free case consultation via phone or the contact form.

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.

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