You are Charged with DUI: Do You Take a Plea or Not?
You were driving in California when you were stopped and arrested for driving under the influence, or DUI. Now you’ve been charged with a DUI. One of the most important questions to answer now is whether you should fight the DUI charge or accept a plea bargain.
Every prosecutor may not offer a plea bargain. However, this is one possible scenario that does arise during the criminal proceeding. The prosecutor has the legal power to offer you a reduced sentence and/ or a reduced charge. In exchange for the reduced charge or sentence, you must plead no contest or guilty. To plead no contest or guilty means that you admit that you were driving under the influence at the time you were stopped by police.
A plea agreement is usually not offered to save a defendant from spending time in jail or having a DUI on his or her record. It’s can be offered when the prosecutor is made aware of the weaknesses of his or her case and can save the court time, money and manpower connected to taking a DUI case to trial. That’s why deciding to accept a plea bargain or fight is a personal choice. You must make this choice based on you future, obligations, own needs and concerns.
Whether to take a plea or not is not a choice you should make alone. You need a DUI defense lawyer to offer you competent legal advice regarding the specific impact a plea bargain will have on your life. Your lawyer will also advise you whether the facts of your case indicate that you should fight the DUI charge instead. There is a possibility that your case could get dismissed or you are acquitted of the charge. These options are better outcomes than a reduced sentence that still includes probation, jail time and a criminal record.
How will you and your lawyer determine whether to plea or fight? The following are some factors you and your lawyer may consider:
- Is there physical evidence the prosecutor has against you?
- Are there any witnesses who can testify for the prosecution?
- Did the police or lab make any errors when taking or analyzing your breath or blood test? Errors can cause your blood or breath results to be inadmissible in trial, or you may be able to comment about the errors to the jury.
- Has your defense lawyer discovered other evidence that will strengthen your version of the facts?
- Are the penalties you face for a DUI conviction harsher than the penalties for a plea bargain?
- What are the short- and long-term consequences of accepting a plea agreement?
- What is the difference between the charges listed in the plea deal verses your original DUI charge?
- Is your defense lawyer confident he or she can fight the charges in court?
Are you willing to risk the possibility of being found guilty of DUI at trial? Remember, no defense lawyer can guarantee that you will be acquitted at trial or that the charges will be dismissed. There is always a risk involved with going to trial.
Schedule a Consultation with the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin
Consider the evidence against you, your personal decision and all the answers to the questions listed above. You and your defense lawyer will be able to decide whether to accept a plea bargain or fight or take your case to trial.
If you want to discuss your DUI arrest or charges with a lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin. We offer consultations that are free and strictly confidential. More importantly, the free consultation will give you insight on whether to take a plea bargain or take your case to trial. Whatever your decision, we are here to diligently and aggressively resolve your matter so that you can get on with your life.