Can I get my DUI charge reduced?

Phil Weinberg Defense Attorney

Can YOU? Probably not if you represent yourself, but with the help of an experienced private DUI defense lawyer, maybe. Obviously, this will turn heavily on the facts of your specific case.

If you had a ‘low’ blow, for a first DUI, and didn’t cause any property damage or personal injury, you have a reasonable chance to get the charges reduced. This also depends on the prosecutor and judge assigned to the case. Please note that the prosecutors and the judges of any future charges you might get will then see all of your prior Washington DUI or ‘physical control’ charges, and in most courts nowadays, all similar charges nationwide thanks to the FBI’s NCIC-3 system. If these priors are within 7 years of your new arrest date, they will increase the mandatory minimum jail and fines.  So, for all my clients the first goal is always dismissal when possible, and I work hard toward that with pretrial motions and plea negotiation.

If you had a very high blow, completely flunked the standardized roadside field sobriety tests (aka “SFST’s”), got into a wreck, the bad driving was particularly bad, you had child passenger(s) or if you have prior DUIs within the last 7 years, a skilled and experienced DUI attorney may still be able to get the charges reduced.  This is done by building up a case to mitigate the evidence against you using expert reports and analysis, and to gather and present reasons and documentation as to why your DUI charge should be reduced.  Over the years I have been successful in getting hundreds of my clients’ DUI charges reduced to reckless driving, negligent driving in the first degree, or reckless endangerment, and in a significant number of cases, complete dismissal of all charges. Public defenders are usually pretty good lawyers, but generally do not have the time to make an optimal case for each individual defendant.

If the facts or your priors are outrageously heavy-duty, someone was hurt or killed, or the blow (breath test) or blood draw reading for alcohol and/or drugs was sky high, or there are multiple factors making it worse, you’ll still want an attorney to minimize your sentence, once again depending upon the specific prosecutor and judge. Oftentimes I am able to get the jail time converted to electronic home monitoring.

(revised 12/07/2021)