HOW THE ARIZONA DUI PLEA BARGAIN PROCESS WORKS
Dismissing an Arizona DUI charge without a reason is against the law. Arizona DUI law states that a prosecutor can't dismiss impaired driving charges unless there is insufficient legal or factual grounds to pursue the charge.
What exactly does this mean for you?
As a general rule (and all general rules are meant to be broken) a prosecutor will not plea bargain a case from a DUI/DWI to reckless driving or another less serious charge unless he/she thinks he is not going to win (and the fact that he/she is an incompetent prosecutor or projectile vomits every time he/she makes a closing statement is probably not a good reason for predicted defeat).
What it means for you without an attorney.
I will put it bluntly... without an attorney representing you, a prosecutor has virtually no chance of losing to you at trial. Therefore, there is a snowball's chance in hell they will plea bargain your case down below a DUI.
Can an attorney get me a deal I couldn't get by myself?
Again, I will put it bluntly. The answer depends on the attorney. Many attorneys, yes even those who practice DUI defense, never, I repeat, never go to trial. An attorney who never goes to trial almost always pleas his/her client out, even if it means "selling them up the river." If prosecutors know that the defense attorney will never challenge him/her at trial, there is little reason for a prosecutor to believe he/she will lose, and hence no reason for him/her to offer the defense attorney's client anything other than a DUI.
HOWEVER... if you have an attorney who will make the prosecutor's life a living hell by demanding every relevant shred of evidence, by making the prosecutor fight for every little piece of the case, who will challenge the validity and accuracy of the chemical evidence, who will pick apart the credibility of the field sobriety tests, who will challenge the constitutionality of the stop, detention and arrest, who will argue to keep incriminating statements you made out of evidence, who will vigorously cross-examine the arresting officer... in short, if you have an attorney who will make it more costly to the prosecutor to fight for a victory than to make a rational and reasonable compromise, then you have a real chance of being offered a favorable plea bargain.
Will a good DUI attorney always get his/her client a deal?
The only honest answer is no! No attorney can promise a result and deliver 100% of the time. Any attorney who says they can guarantee an acquittal, dismissal or plea bargain to a lesser charge is probably dishonest, incompetent or unethical.
Good DUI attorneys know that any case can be won, even the most difficult case (for instance, a blood test of .25 when the client hits a telephone and vomits in the back of the police cruiser). Good DUI attorneys also know that any case can be lost (for instance, no bad driving, client is pulled over for a broken taillight, refuses to take field sobriety tests and blows a .065 on the Intoxilyzer). DUI involves a science, but it is science with many obvious and subtle flaws. The trick is to look for flaws in the State's evidence and/or mistakes by the police or prosecutors and be ready to exploit them when they surface.