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Obtaining a Virginia reckless plea after a 0.11 blood reading, where such a result is uncommon

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Virginia drunk driving convictions carry harsh results, including one year of no driving except for restricted purposes permitted by the court, mandatory ignition interlock coming your way regardless of the blood alcohol content, and expensive total payments for an attorney, fines and costs, and mandatory alcohol education.

Sometimes a great negotiation result on a Virginia DWI charge is to achieve a wet reckless plea, in the form of converting the drunk driving charge to a reckless driving charge, completing alcohol education, and restricted/suspended driving for up to six months rather than the one year of restricted/suspended driving mandated for drunk driving cases.

Earlier this month, I blogged about a wet reckless on a 0.15 BAC reading that was not offered until I had already begun presenting the testimony of our breathalyzer expert. Earlier this week, I went to court armed for battle on a blood draw reading of a 0.11 BAC. As advised, my client completed alcohol education before trial, and completed a live half-day driver safety class. Beyond that, long before trial I met the statutory deadline to obtain a court order to transfer part of the drawn blood to my designated independent laboratory to test the blood, which determined that the BAC was 0.10, which is lower than the result at Virginia’s Department of Forensic Science.

Armed with total trial preparation and the foregoing items — and with the prosecutor having his necessary witnesses — I suggested a wet reckless plea to the prosecutor, showing him documents proving the foregoing items. This was in a county where prosecutors ordinarily are very resistant to offering a wet reckless for BAC results of 0.10 and over, and often say their hands are tied not to make such offers for such BAC levels. The prosecutor, nonetheless, offered wet reckless after considering the matter.

Once again the maxim held true that preparing a case to go to trial makes a favorable settlement more likely, and preparing a case for settlement is more likely to lead to a trial, with possibly disastrous results for having neglected trial preparation.