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Can you reduce a DUI to a reckless driving offense?

No matter where you are leaving from or headed to, it is never a comfortable feeling getting pulled over by law enforcement. Motorists in South Carolina and elsewhere often fear the worst when they get pulled over. Even if it is not apparent why a police officer pulled you over, it is possible that an officer might suspect more than just the traffic offense that caused the traffic stop. If a driver is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, this could mean a DUI charge and serious penalties.

Can you reduce a DUI to a reckless driving offense? In order to be convicted of a DUI, the prosecution must prove the elements of the crime. One option for a defendant is to challenge the evidence involved, resulting in charges being reduced or dismissed. Another defense option is to obtain a plea bargain. This typically results in reduced charges or reduced penalties.

If this is a driver's first offense, it is often possible to have the DUI charge reduced to a reckless driving charge. Reckless driving is considered to be the willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others while operating a motor vehicle. Additionally, the driver will show disregard for the consequences for these actions as well. Reckless driving is considered to be one of the most serious traffic offenses and could result in a misdemeanor charge.

In the state of South Carolina, those accused of reckless driving could face a fine of up to $200. Additionally, if this is a subsequent conviction in the past five years, a driver could also endure a license suspension for a period of three months.

Because a reckless driving charge results in less harsh penalties, it is important for motorists accused of a DUI to consider the option of reduced charges. Whether this is through plea negotiations or litigation, defendants should fully be aware of their rights and how best to devise a criminal defense strategy.

Source: Scstatehouse.gov, "SECTION 56-5-2920. Reckless driving," accessed Dec. 23, 2017

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