Re: Should I Plea Down to Negligent Driving
I have to disagree with itsjustme on this one. It sounds to me like the speeding ticket was dropped because the officer relied on the DUI arrest report and expected that to provide the foundation for the notice of infraction. Because the arrest report was not presented with the NOI, and the officer did not include a separate narrative with the NOI, the speeding was dropped.
However, the DA does not need a conviction for the initial reason for the stop to show that the stop and subsequent DUI investigation was lawful. All he/she needs to show is that the officer had "reasonable suspicion" that the OP had committed a violation of the law. I am quite sure that the basis for the stop IS articulated in the arrest report, even if it was not included on the NOI. So, even with the speeding dropped, the DA can still show that the OP's speeding violation presented a legal reason for the stop.
If the officer did NOT articulate a basis for the initial stop, your attorney (ESPECIALLY a public defender - in spite of the other poster's apparent disdain for PDs) would have already gotten the charges dropped...In fact, the DA would probably never even wasted the time to file in the first place.
As to why you were offered the neg 1 so effortlessly, it could be a few reasons. But, I wouldn't assume it is because the DA thinks he/she has a weak case. It could simply be that the DUI prosecutor has a stack of DUIs on their desk 3 ft high and, since this is your first offense and with a low BAC, he/she just doesn't want to spend much time on it. I would advise that you ask your attorney about seeing if you can negotiate down to neg 2. All the DA can do is say no...and such a request is not going to cause him/her to pull the neg 1 offer. If the DA declines on the neg 2, take the neg 1 and let your attorney bargain for the best sentence deal he/she can.
As far as the racial profiling idea goes, yeah, I think that your friend is showing some rookie over-eagerness. Since the burden of proof would be on you and require quite a bit of legal research work, it would cost you a pretty penny in private attorney costs. No PD would touch it. Sure, if you won, you have a chance of recouping those costs in a civil suit, but that's a big gamble. You would have to show that THAT OFFICER has a track record of racial profiling. Doing so would entail researching every contact that that officer has made, probably for several years, and showing a pattern. And simple numbers, unless they are WAY disproportionate, won't do it. Maybe if you could show that X minority group only comprises 10% of the population (in the area the officer regularly works, not the population in general), yet X minority group makes up 90% of his/her stops, you might have a case just on numbers. But, if it is more like 10%/20%, you are going to have to show (through conviction rates, a pattern of statements by the officer, etc.) that the officer is making the stops based on race rather than behavior. As I say, the burden of proof would be on you. Just because some department(s) in the area have a "bad rep" will do little to show racial motivation regarding a specific officer.
Behind the badge is a person. Behind the person is an ego. This is as it should be, person at the center and ego to the back.