The vast majority of criminal cases–including DWI cases–are resolved with plea bargains. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for something from the prosecution. In DWI cases, the prosecutor may offer to reduce the DWI charge to a charge of careless and imprudent driving in exchange for the guilty plea if your attorney is capable of finding a problem with their case against you.
What is Careless and Imprudent Driving?
The state of Missouri does not have laws that prohibit reckless driving. Instead, it has a law that prohibits careless and imprudent driving. This law requires all drivers to exercise the highest degree of care when operating a motor vehicle. This basically means that drivers are required to drive in a manner that does not endanger others.
Reducing DWI Charges to Careless and Imprudent Driving
It’s possible that the prosecution will agree to reduce your DWI charge to careless and imprudent driving as part of a plea deal. Your attorney will need to find something wrong with the prosecutor’s case against you and speak with the prosecutor to determine if they are open to this agreement. However, this type of deal is typically off the table if the defendant is a repeat DWI offender of if he was involved in an accident that caused injuries while intoxicated unless your attorney is very knowledgeable about DWI law and knows how to find weaknesses in the prosecutor’s case.
The Penalties for Careless and Imprudent Driving
Pleading guilty to careless and imprudent driving as part of a plea bargain means you are accepting the consequences of committing this crime. Careless and imprudent driving is usually charged as a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum of six months in jail and $1,000 in fines. Between two to four points are also added to your driving record as a result of careless and imprudent driving. The charge will remain on your driving record for three years, however it will remain on your record for an additional year if you are a commercial driver.
Although these penalties are serious, they are not nearly as serious as the penalties for DWI. For this reason, many DWI defendants would rather plead guilty to careless and imprudent driving than face DWI charges.
Are you facing DWI charges? Let the attorneys at The Missouri DWI & Criminal Law Center at the Benjamin Law Firm, LLC help. If appropriate, our criminal defense attorneys are skilled negotiators that can work with the prosecutors to reach a favorable plea deal in your DWI case. Call our office at 816-322-8008, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free consultation today.