It depends on the facts of the case, the prosecutor and the person’s background or circumstances. Quite often, based on the facts, we can get a charge of extreme DUI reduced to a regular DUI; that’s a fairly common occurrence. Depending on the jurisdiction and the circumstances, I can sometimes get a DUI reduced to a Reckless Driving.
When a person is charged with a misdemeanor DUI, if the case is a second offense within seven years, the person is subject to much harsher penalties. For example for a second offense .20% Super-Extreme the mandatory minimum can be literally 180 days in jail. With a plea agreement in any jurisdiction, you have to avow to the court that the defendant has no prior convictions within 7 years. Often times a defendant has a prior conviction which the prosecutor’s do not know about and so the goal is to get the case over with before the prosecutor finds out about the prior conviction. Two ways to do that are if possible plead guilty without an agreement so the defendant does not have to make any avowals to the court or resolve the case by jury so again the defendant does not have to make any avowals to the court.
I’ve done that twice recently; in one, the guy faced a super extreme DUI, because his blood-alcohol level was 0.25% and the guy had a prior conviction, so he was looking at serving 6 months in jail, not community service if the prosecutor found out about the trial. I tried the case before the prosecutor found about the prior conviction and my client ended up with 15 days in jail not 180.
I had another case recently which was a second offense regular DUI, so we were just looking at 30 days in jail. I tried it and the prosecutors had never found out about the prior case, so it was as if it was the first offense, so instead of getting 30 days in jail and more fines and community service, he ended up with 1 day not 30. Sometimes you get a better result by trying a case and losing it, as in those two cases.
In terms of plea bargaining, it depends on the facts of the case, whether it’s an extreme versus a regular, the jurisdiction, whether they’ll agree to reckless driving or not under the circumstances, and in terms of whether it’s a first or second offense, it depends on the validity of the prior and whether the prosecutors know about it.
Are There Laws to Address the Presence of Inactive Marijuana Metabolites in the Human Body?
Either early this year that issue came up before the Arizona Supreme Court. The DUI law says someone is guilty if they drive or are in control of a vehicle while they have active or inactive THC or metabolites in the body. Active metabolites are those which are still having an effect on the body and inactive are those which are still in the body but having no effect on the person. That law doesn’t make a distinction between inactive or active metabolites. The Arizona Supreme Court said that, in order to be in violation of that law though, there must be inactive metabolites present and if there are only inactive metabolites present, the person can’t be found guilty of that offense. Since all the experts in the field who would testify in court, agree that an inactive metabolite can’t cause impairment, there is no basis to prosecute. If only inactive metabolites are present. So, now the status is if metabolites are inactive, the person is not guilty.
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