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Getting pulled over for a DWI can make your stomach drop. Thoughts start racing – will I lose my license? How bad are the fines? Is a conviction inevitable?

While a DWI allegation seems scary, there are still paths to negotiate. Prosecutors might lessen charges to reckless driving depending on the details. It comes down to strategic leveraging of your situation.

In this post, we’ll break down the odds of pleading down to reckless driving after a DWI stop in Minnesota.

What Is The Difference Between DWI and Reckless Driving In Minnesota?

DWI stands for “driving under the influence.” It means operating a vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit in Minnesota is .08%. Drivers with a BAC at or above .08% can be charged with DWI. Refusing an alcohol test can also lead to a DWI.

On the other hand, reckless driving involves operating a vehicle in a way that shows “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.” This includes speeding, swerving, ignoring traffic signals, and other dangerous driving behavior. A reckless driving charge does not allege alcohol impairment specifically.

Reckless driving is a less severe charge than DWI. But it is still a misdemeanor offense with penalties attached. We’ll compare the DWI vs. reckless driving penalties next.

MN Penalties for DWI and Reckless Driving Charges

Both a first-time DWI misdemeanor conviction and a reckless driving conviction can result in up to $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail. However, prosecutors rarely seek the maximum sentence for reckless driving charges. Additionally, reckless driving convictions often don’t result in an automatic license suspension.

In addition to the fines and possible jail time, a DWI conviction brings many other consequences. Your car insurance rates will increase significantly after a DWI. Some drivers also have to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. And everyone convicted of DWI must complete alcohol education classes.

Meanwhile, a reckless driving conviction is less likely to inflate insurance rates or require an interlock device. The main penalties are monetary fines and possible jail time.
Clearly, reckless driving is the far less damaging charge. Next, let’s review how you can get a DWI reduced to reckless driving in Minnesota.

How To Get A DWI Dropped To Reckless Driving In MN

There are two main ways drivers can get a DWI reduced to reckless driving in Minnesota:

Plea Bargain With The Prosecutor

The most common way to get a DWI dropped is through a plea bargain with the prosecutor. Your defense lawyer will negotiate with the prosecutor and try to convince them to reduce the DWI charge to reckless driving.

Certain factors make a prosecutor more likely to accept a reckless plea bargain:

  • It’s your first DWI offense
  • You had a low BAC while driving
  • You passed field sobriety tests
  • Your driving behavior did not cause an accident
  • You have an otherwise clean criminal history

An experienced DWI defense attorney knows how to negotiate effectively with prosecutors to get favorable plea deals.

Challenge The DWI Charge With Strong Legal Defenses

Rather than take a plea bargain, some drivers choose to fight the DWI allegation outright. If your lawyer can raise strong legal defenses against the charge, the prosecutor may reduce it to reckless driving to avoid losing at trial.

Possible DWI defenses include:

  • Your traffic stop or arrest was illegal
  • Errors occurred in administering your BAC test
  • You suffer from a medical condition that resembles drunkenness
  • You were not actually driving the vehicle

Again, a Minneapolis DWI lawyer will know how to present persuasive legal defenses to get the charge reduced.

Work With An Experienced DWI Defense Attorney

Working with an experienced DWI defense attorney gives you the best chance of getting your DWI reduced to a reckless driving charge. Our lawyers at Martine Law have extensive experience representing clients facing DWI charges in Minnesota.

We dig deep into the specifics of your case and devise an optimal legal strategy. Many of our past clients have gotten their DWI charges reduced to reckless driving or dismissed entirely.

We can help you navigate this challenging situation and achieve the best possible outcome. Don’t wait – schedule a consultation with our team to get started today. There is hope after a DWI charge.

With our support, you can get back on the road to redemption.