How to Get Your DUI Charge Reduced

Photo of author

( — March 23, 2022) — If you’re currently facing a DUI charge, then you likely feel a massive weight on your shoulders. And while the ideal scenario would be to have your charges dropped altogether, this isn’t always possible. The next best outcome is to have your charges reduced to something lesser.

The Consequences of a DUI Conviction

A DUI charge is just that – a charge. But a DUI conviction? That’s a whole different story. DUI convictions come with a long list of short-term and long-term consequences that will have a negative impact on your life for years to come. This may include:

  • Jail time. Depending on the factors of your case and whether it’s your first DUI, you could face jail time of several weeks to several years.
  • Fines and fees. Prepare to pay a number of fines and fees. And when you tack on lawyer fees, you can expect to spend $10,000 or more before it’s all said and done.
  • License suspension. Your license will be suspended after a DUI conviction. Typically, a first-time offender will get a 90-day suspension (in most states). But if you’ve already had a DUI conviction in the past, you could have your license suspended for over a year.
  • Insurance hikes. According to an analysis by Forbes, drivers with a DUI see insurance rates increase by an average of 74 percent. That leads to an extra $1,470 per year for the same level of car insurance.
  • Background checks. Each time you apply for a job, your DUI will pop up on your background check. This could prevent you from gaining employment when you’re otherwise qualified for the position.

If you’re currently facing a DUI charge, you need to do everything you can to get the charges reduced to something lesser. In doing so, you can avoid many of the aforementioned consequences and continue living your life.

Ways to Get Your Charge Reduced (or Dropped)

Depending on the state you’re in, you may be able to get a DUI dropped to a reckless driving charge (which carries fewer consequences and doesn’t have nearly the same black mark on your record).

“Most people just fold when charged with a DUI. But the reality is that you can fight back,” DUI attorney Rowdy G. Williams mentions. “There are always options for getting your charge reduced to something lesser, like a reckless driving charge. However, you must know exactly how to proceed so that you don’t miss this opportunity.”

Here are some specific ways you can fight your charge:

1. Take a Plea Bargain

If the state has any issues with the evidence they’re presenting, you and your lawyer may be able to talk the prosecutor into dishing out a plea bargain. Typically, these types of plea bargains include reduced charges and/or sentences. However, you’ll have to put forth a guilty plea. (This can be hard for some people to do when they know they’re innocent. However, you’ll have to decide if you really want to stake your future on principle.)

2. Attend Drunk Driving Education

Many states will work with people who are charged with a first DUI to complete drunk driving education programs to avoid serious consequences like jail time and license suspensions. You may even be able to get a charge reduced to reckless driving under certain circumstances.

3. Accept and Complete Probation

If you have a totally clean driving record and no history of criminal charges or convictions, you may be able to accept and complete some sort of probation to avoid a DUI conviction. Probation isn’t necessarily easy – there is a long list of rules that must be followed – but it’s better than having a DUI conviction on your record.

4. Hire a (Really) Good Lawyer

At the end of the day, make sure you hire a good attorney. Meet with them before agreeing to work together and ask for their honest opinion on your case and if they think they’ll be able to get your charges reduced. You want to work with someone who is honest but confident.

Adding it All Up

A DUI is serious. If at all possible, you want to get it reduced to a reckless driving charge and move on with your life. Hire an attorney and follow their legal advice. Every case is different and your attorney will be able to evaluate the best path forward based on your circumstances.