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If you’ve been arrested for DUI, how do you know if you should take your case all the way to trial, or whether you should try and negotiate a plea bargain with the court? If you’ve retained an experienced DUI attorney, he or she will explain in detail the plea bargain process, but we would like to take a moment to do so as well.
There are a couple of factors that will weigh on whether or not you will be able to negotiate a plea bargain:
Your attorney’s position. Your attorney will sit down with you and explain whether or not he believes you should plead guilty to a lesser charge. Sometimes there is a lot of evidence that weighs heavily in your favor, so it may be worth your while to take the case all the way to trial.
The risks involved. The second thing to consider is what you risk if you lose as opposed to what you’ll gain if you win. If you fight the charges and lose, what is your worst outcome? How would that be different if you just accepted a plea bargain? Will the outcome save your license? It’s best to weigh the pros and cons of both fighting the charge and a plea bargain and determine what the lesser of two evils is.
For example, if you plead guilty to a DUI, it’s highly possible you will lose your license. And this could mean you’ll eventually lose your job because you certainly cannot drive to work without a driver’s license.
But, on the flip side, you could still lose your license, if only for a short time, if you accept a plea bargain. Your lawyer should sit down with you and discuss what your options will be.
What is a Plea Bargain, Exactly?
A plea bargain is an agreement with the court and prosecution that you will plead guilty to a lesser charge, in exchange for the actual charge’s dismissal. Depending on your situation, you could plead guilty to a lesser charge, pay a fine and be done with everything. However, the more complex your case is, the more complex your plea bargain may be.
Your criminal history will play a major role in whether or not you would even qualify for a plea bargain. If you’ve already been arrested for a DUI and received a plea bargain previously, more likely than not the DA or judge will now allow you to have a plea bargain for this new case. However, if this is your first DUI arrest and there was no accident, you could qualify for a plea bargain. A plea bargain could reduce or eliminate any jail time you would receive as part of your sentence. If you are offered a plea bargain, keep in mind that you may still be required to attend some type of alcohol counseling as part of your plea agreement.
If you have been arrested for DUI, or you’re under investigation, it’s best to contact an experienced DUI attorney. DUI can be a complex area of the law, and you want someone in your corner that knows how to fight for you. Remember that each case is different, so an outcome for one defendant may not be the same as everyone else, but your experienced attorney will know and understand your own situation and help formulate a defense that is just right for you.