Archive for April, 2010

Are Reductions Routine in 1st Offense DUI Cases?

Most new clients we meet have the incorrect preconceived notion that as long as they have never been in trouble before (no convictions, no traffic tickets, etc.), the State will simply agree to reduce the pending DUI 1st Offense to something such as a Reckless Driving.  In reality, a person’s prior criminal history, or lack thereof, is seldom relevant to the case unless the person is convicted and facing sentencing.

Over the past several decades, the trend in our society has been toward harsher penalties and more conservative laws for driving under the influence.  A recent story in the ABA Journal highlights one reason that prosecutors are hesitant to be lenient on the punishment for DUI offenders.  DUI prosecutors often state that they cannot reduce a DUI, even if just a first offense, because the defendant may then go out and repeat the behavior of driving while impaired, endangering the lives the community.  This exact scenario, as reported by the ABA Journal, recently played out in Maryland.  However, rather than striking and injuring a citizen at large, the defendant in question struck and injured a retired Maryland County Judge and his wife.  The same Judge had previously shown leniency to the defendant, suspending his DUI sentence (meaning he did not have to serve any time in jail).

Accounts such as these provide prosecutors, state legislators and private organizations (such as MADD) with the ammunition needed to justify the “no tolerance” trend toward DUI offenders.  Unfortunately, although each Driving Under the Influence case is quite unique and bears individual scrutiny to determine whether a reduction is appropriate, many jurisdictions are pushing for convictions in all cases under the assumption that the defendant will re-offend.

This trend only highlights the importance of selecting a qualified attorney to handle your DUI case.  Never assume that you can handle the case yourself or hire the cheapest lawyer you can find because you are assured a reduced charge due to your clean record.  Do your homework and hire the very best DUI defense attorney that you can afford.  For more information on how to select a Tennessee DUI attorney, click here.  For information about a Tennessee DUI charge, you may contact Steve Oberman or Sara Compher-Rice at (865) 249-7200.

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