Can I get a Plea Bargain for my Drunk Driving Arrest?
If you have been charged with drunk driving you may have considered a plea bargain. A plea bargain is offered by the prosecuting attorney.
What benefit is there for the prosecution? The state gets a conviction and they get to avoid the high cost of prosecuting the case. The state can also eliminate hundreds of criminal DUI trials that can clog up the court system costing millions of dollars in court costs.
There also may be benefits for you, especially if the prosecution has a strong case. In many states the state may be willing to lower the drunk driving charge to a reckless driving charge. If not, you might have the benefit of avoiding the risk of taking a DUI case to trial.
How do I know if a plea bargain is available for my DUI case?
The first thing to do after a drunk driving arrest is to talk to a DUI lawyer. It is seldom a wise choice to negotiate your own DUI plea bargain agreement with the prosecution without first seeking legal counsel. In some cases the prosecution may have a very weak case and you might have a high chance of beating the DUI charges if you go to trial.
DUI lawyers will also know what your options are in your state. Some states have rules that outline when the prosecution can offer a plea bargain, other states do not. Some states also allow judges to accept or reject plea bargains.
Is taking a plea bargain a good idea in my DUI case?
Unfortunately, depending on your state, a plea bargain may not be allowed. In some states there are mandatory, minimum punishments and penalties for DUI offenses. Additionally, if you have aggravating or enhanced factors in your DUI arrest the state may not allow a plea bargain.
When is a plea agreement potentially a good idea- if the state has a strong case against you. For instance, if you have a chemical test that is much higher than the illegal limit of 0.08% it may be hard to convince a court that you were not intoxicated.
When is a plea agreement potentially not a good idea? If the chemical test was below 0.08% and the prosecution does not have any other good evidence that you were intoxicated or were unable to safely operate your car. In this case you may have a strong case of winning your DUI case, and a plea bargain may not be necessary.
How do I negotiate my plea bargain after my drunk driving arrest?
As mentioned above, the first step is to talk to a DUI lawyer. Generally, the prosecution will send the plea offer to your defense attorney when they submit the DUI police report.
Is the first plea offer the best offer? Not necessarily and that is why it is good to talk to a DUI lawyer. If you are working with a DUI lawyer who is familiar with the prosecuting attorney’s offices and policies in your city or jurisdiction they will know the plea bargain guidelines used by the prosecution and can ensure you get a fair offer.
Although some prosecutors have strict guidelines and will not negotiate, some will. DUI lawyers can work with you and the prosecuting attorney to make sure you get the best possible plea bargain available.
Great DUI lawyers will also have a good reputation and track record for winning DUI cases. If there is a lack of evidence in your case they may be able to use this to their advantage to secure an agreement.
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