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San Francisco DUI Lawyer: Getting Felony Drunk Driving reduced

 Posted on March 07, 2011 in DUI

Felony Drunk Driving - How Experienced DUI Lawyers Can Sometimes Get It Reduced To A Misdemeanor

There are several ways that a California drunk driving incident in California can be treated as a felony, but prosecutors and judges retain separate discretionary authority to reduce the offense to a misdemeanor in most circumstances.  Here is a passage from Chapter 1 of California Drunk Driving Law, by Kuwatch, Burglin & Simons (James Publishing) that summarizes this authority:

Offenses that may be prosecuted as either a felony or a misdemeanor are commonly referred to as “wobblers.” Even though a prosecutor may charge a wobbler offense as a felony, the trial court may declare it to be a misdemeanor at either the preliminary examination, the time of sentencing, or anytime following a grant of probation. P.C. §17(b).  Although California Penal Code (P.C.) § 1238(d) may, under some circumstances, permit the People to obtain appellate review of a P.C. § 17(b)(5) reduction order by way of a petition for writ of mandamus (see, e.g., People v. Superior Court (Alvarez) (1997) 14 Cal.4th 968), as a general rule the People have no right to appeal such an order. People v. Williams (2005) 35 Cal.4th 817. Alvarez contains a helpful discussion regarding the appropriate considerations for a P.C. §17(b)(5) reduction order.  The Court’s power to reduce a wobbler to a misdemeanor exists even if the felony involves a GBI enhancement.  People v. Feyrer (2010) 48 Cal.4th 426. California Drunk Driving Law, by Kuwatch, Burglin & Simons (James Publishing) Copyright 2011.

Experienced criminal defense attorneys, particularly those who are familiar with the policies of the local prosecutors and judges, know how to present their clients in the best possible light.

Additionally, those lawyers who are also Board Certified by the National College for DUI Defense (as recognized by the American Bar Association) bring some weight to the negotiating table that is not otherwise present.  Thus, even though a case may be impossible to win, a more reasonable settlement can often be had with an experienced and trained attorney.

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