Persistence leads to avoiding a Virginia DUI conviction
Persistence can turn a no into a yes in negotiations, says Fairfax DUI lawyer
Persistence in Virginia DWI plea negotiations can sometimes yield big payoffs when the doggedness comes with a roadmap, and is not about repetition nor (worse) betting. As a Fairfax DUI lawyer, I used such a persistent approach recently in obtaining a spectacular negotiating result of two wet reckless driving dispositions in place of charges in Fairfax General District Court of DWI risking a mandatory minimum jail sentence, reckless driving based on alleged speeding, and having an unsealed partly full alcohol container next to my client in the car.
What price should I pay to replace my Virginia DUI prosecution with a reckless driving disposition?
For many of my Fairfax DUI and Virginia DWI defense clients, they are willing to pay high fines, get high suspended jail, do community service, and attend many Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings in order to negotiate away a DWI conviction. My persistence in obtaining the above-described reckless disposition in a DWI case took the following progression: I showed the prosecutor documentation of my client’s completion of a driver improvement class, attendance at a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) victim impact panel, and attendance at ten AA meetings. I told the prosecutor that our designated forensic toxicologist was present to testify that the +/- 0.009 uncertainty of measurement listed by the Virginia Department of Forensic Science (DFS) data needed to be subtracted from my client’s lowest breath test score, to result in a 0.144 blood alcohol concentration (BAC). I told the prosecutor this case will settle for a wet reckless with a high fine and the maximum available suspended jail sentence of one year. The prosecutor rejected that defense offer, and countered with a standard first DUI offer, with no active jail (therefore eliminating exposure to mandatory jail time).
Is my lawyer going to unnecessarily piss off the prosecutor through his persistence in going back in seeking to improve settlement negotiations?
Any time that a Virginia DUI defendant (prosecuted under Virginia Code § 18.2-266 for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) makes a counteroffer to a prosecutor, the law treats the prosecutor’s last offer as no longer active. In reality, it is uncommon for a counteroffer by me to a prosecutor to lead to anything worse than the prosecutor’s keeping their last plea offer open, unless the prosecutor warns otherwise. With my above-listed Fairfax DUI settlement victory, I came back to the prosecutor and offered two wet recklesses, a high suspended fine as well as a significant active fine payment, 100 hours of community service and 50 AA meetings. The prosecutor and lead Fairfax police officer in the case were in disbelief about why my client would want two misdemeanor convictions with reckless driving rather than only one misdemeanor conviction with a Virginia DUI disposition. If they thought that my client — through his persistence — was engaging in self inflicted wounding with our wet reckless offer, they should think again, when considering the headaches that a Virginia DWI conviction can cause for security clearance status, work as a uniformed member of the military, immigration status, and reputation. We got this wet reckless deal with no Virginia DUI conviction.
How important is it for me to go to court fully ready for a trial?
You and your Fairfax DUI / Virginia DWI lawyer must be fully ready for trial when going to court. That persistence s the only way that they can sufficiently honor any decisions you make against pleading guilty or no contest / nolo contendere, and preparing a case to go to trial makes it more likely to settle than to go to trial, and the opposite is true when preparing a case to settle. Choose a Virginia DUI lawyer who is excellent in proceeding to trial, in addition to a lawyer who is able to obtain favorable settlement negotiations.
Fairfax DUI lawyer Jonathan Katz fully navigates the courthouse terrain in pursuing your best defense. Call 703-383-1100 for your free in-person confidential consultation with Jon Katz about your court-pending case.