Many of our clients come to us after being arrested for a DUI and immediately ask if they can get their case reduced to a lesser charge of reckless driving. In spite of the request, clients do not understand the benefits of a reduction of their Georgia DUI case to reckless driving.
Even fewer people realize that a reduction to reckless driving can result in some disadvantages. Also, many people falsely assume that their Georgia DUI Attorney can automatically get a first Georgia DUI reduced to reckless driving. That is not the case. To get a reduction, the case must warrant the modification as a matter of law or as a matter of fact. In summary, the facts of the case matter.
Pros and Cons:
There are pros and cons to both a DUI conviction and a reckless driving conviction that should be discussed with a Georgia DUI Lawyer before choosing a defense strategy. Most Georgia DUI Attorneys strive to get their client's case reduced to reckless driving. That being said, reductions are not automatic.
Most prosecutors are hesitant to dismiss a DUI case; therefore, the chances of a case being completely dismissed are slim. A more likely possibility is getting a first Georgia DUI reduced to reckless driving. There are great benefits to getting a Georgia DUI case reduced to reckless driving.
If offered a favorable plea bargain, the decision to enter the plea bargain is entirely up to the client. You have an absolute right to fight your case with a jury trial. No matter how good a proposed deal appears to be, the decision to take said “deal” is entirely up to our clients.
What is the Difference Between a Plea to Reckless Driving and plea to DUI?
There are many differences, but for starters, one offense has points associated with it while the other does not. A DUI is a zero-point offense, but it stays on your driving record and your criminal record for life. On the other hand, a reckless driving conviction is a four-point traffic offense. A typical speeding ticket ranges in points from 2-6 points, therefore a reckless driving conviction falls right in the middle insofar as points are concerned.
If you are over 21 years of age, a reduction to reckless driving will save your driver's license from being suspended. However, if the four points from a reckless driving conviction will cause you to have fifteen or more points on your MVR, then your license will still be suspended.
If you are under 21 years of age, a DUI conviction results in an immediate license suspension. A reckless driving conviction also carries a license suspension akin to that of a DUI (6 months).
For insurance purposes, a reckless driving conviction is usually preferred over a DUI conviction. The impact on your insurance premiums is far less with reckless driving versus a DUI conviction. While many see hikes in their insurance rates after a reckless driving conviction, most insurance companies will not drop an insured person, unless there are aggravating circumstances in the case.
In the alternative, many people with a first in lifetime DUI offense find themselves dropped from their current insurance company.
Cons to a Reckless Driving Plea
Some people believe that reckless driving comes with fewer punishments, but that is not true. Often a conviction carries the same type of penalties such as probation, community service, DUI School, counseling, and hefty fines. The only difference is that the conviction is for reckless driving instead of a DUI. The consequences are very similar to Georgia DUI Penalties. However, there are important long-term benefits when you are not convicted of a DUI.
If you are a Commercial Truck Driver, a plea to reckless driving can save your commercial privileges. A conviction to reckless driving is considered a serious offense for a CDL driver, and if someone is convicted of two serious offenses within a 3-year period, your CDL privileges are suspended for a year after the conviction is entered.
If you have been arrested for a DUI, you need legal representation immediately. You only have 30 days to save your driving privileges in Georgia! If there are legal or factual issues in your case that warrant a reduction to reckless driving, your experienced DUI Attorney in Georgia will find them and use them on your behalf to try and negotiate a reduction to reckless driving. We will walk you through the pros and cons and help you make an informed decision on what is best for your situation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.