DUI Mitigating Factors
In any DUI case, there may be aggravating and mitigating factors that can be taken into consideration by the judge and the prosecutor when determining an appropriate resolution. In many cases, the mitigating factors in favor of the defendant may lead the prosecutor to consider a reduced DUI charge. Those charged with DUI may not realize what factors are helpful and it is imperative that anyone charged with driving under the influence speak with an experienced DUI attorney as soon as possible.What Are Considered Mitigating Factors?
When dealing with the law, a mitigating factor is any information or evidence regarding the defendant or the facts of the case that may result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence. There are a number of mitigating factors that may be taken into consideration when dealing with a DUI offense.
The defendant’s driving conduct is often a factor that can weigh heavily in a DUI case. Dangerous or reckless driving conduct may be taken into consideration as an aggravating factor that can lead to increased penalties. Similarly, non-dangerous driving conduct can be taken into consideration as a mitigating factor. This is often the case when the reason for the vehicle stop is an equipment violation, and not a moving or driving violation. An equipment violation, such as a burned-out brake light, malfunctioning turn signal or improperly tinted windows may provide reasonable or probable cause for a vehicle stop. However, this type of violation is not necessarily indicative of impaired driving and the reason for the stop may be used as a mitigating factor when determining a defendant’s culpability.
In addition, the defendant’s blood alcohol content (“BAC”) may be a mitigating factor that can be taken into consideration for purposes of sentencing. The legal driving limit in California is 0.08 percent and driver’s whose BAC is at or near this limit may be offered a plea to a reduced offense or may be eligible for other sentencing reductions. The prosecutor and court may recognize that a rising blood alcohol may have resulted in an elevated BAC at the time that testing was conducted and may allow the defendant to plea to a reduced charge, such as wet reckless in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103.5 VC.
There are a number of other mitigating factors that may be taken into consideration. When the defendant is cooperative with law enforcement and answers questions honestly, the prosecution may agree to a reduced charge, especially where there is a low BAC or other mitigating factors. However, this is not always the case and a driver’s cooperation may sometimes make it easier for the prosecution to prosecute the driver.Mitigating Factors and Reduced Charges
Where there are mitigating factors, the prosecution may consider reducing the charges and allowing the defendant to plead to a lesser charge. For DUI cases, this may include wet reckless pursuant to California Vehicle Code Section 23103/23103/5 VC, reckless driving in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 23103 VC or exhibition of speed under California Vehicle Code Section 23109(c) VC. These code sections are non-DUI charges that often do not trigger the same mandatory sentencing requirements that DUI charges carry.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for DUI, it is critical that you speak with a knowledgeable DUI attorney as soon as possible. As a former Deputy District Attorney with over 14 years of prosecutorial experience, Michael Kraut understands how to effectively defend clients who have been charged with DUI. In many cases, Mr. Kraut is able to present mitigating factors to the prosecutor or Court in order secure the best possible resolution for his clients.
For more information about DUI mitigating factors, and to schedule your free consultation, contact Michael Kraut at the Kraut Law Group located at 6255 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1480, Los Angeles, CA 90028. Mr. Kraut can be reached 24/7 at 888-334-6344 or 323-464-6453.