What is a DUI Plea Bargain and How Can It Help?
Plea bargains are rare in DUI cases, but remember that successful DUI defenses themselves can be difficult. For one, if the officer, the breathalyzer, and the blood test say you were over the legal limit, you will likely have trouble defending the charges. There are many defenses for DUI, however, and this is not to say you have no chance. In fact, DUI defenses can limit charges based on the actions of the officer, the validity of the tests, and the exact circumstances of the arrest.
As our first point, if an officer pulls you over for no reason, you have rights. You can't just be pulled over for no reason; well, legally you can't. If an officer profiled you because of the make of your car, your skin color, your sex, or any other reason, and makes no clear case for why he or she pulled you over, you often have a strong DUI case. Officer profiling is an unfortunate fact of life, but it does not make it right. This defense can be difficult to prove without a good lawyer.
Or the officer could have made other mistakes. He or she might have caught you sitting in a car but not driving. This actually does happen, where you weren't driving and sometimes had no intention of driving. In this case, a defense can be made that you were not driving at all, therefore breaking no laws.
An officer can also fail to use the breathalyzer correctly. It's common for drivers to believe the breathalyzer is 100% accurate. It's not. It depends on how the officer uses it. If you fail the blood test, that is much more damning in court, as it's the most accurate test for alcohol.
The last mistake an officer may make we'll go over is the Miranda. By law, upon arrest you need to be told your rights you have the right to remain silent, to an attorney, etc. and if not, the officer has made a big mistake. This too doesn't happen to often, but sometimes the arresting officer can forget and this leads to a strong defense.
Defenses are based on many other points beyond how the officer acted. The main goals of a DUI defense are to cast doubt on the officer, on the evidence against you (like the BAC tests), and to prove you were no danger to other drivers.
While rare, plea bargains can be struck in cases where the defense has proven a key point. If the officer's arrest can be doubted, it can lead to a successful innocence plea. Where there is more evidence, and it's clear you were drinking or using drugs, plea bargains can be made to save time. While it may sound odd, in criminal law courts plea bargains are quite common, mainly because of the backlog in the system and full prisons. This does not happen too often in DUI, as you rarely spend major prison time and DUI arrests are quite often punished.
The basis of a plea bargain depends on the nature of the crime, the strength of evidence in the case, and the chances you'll get a guilty charge in the final sentence.
Who can help with this? You will have no DUI defense without a DUI lawyer. A DUI lawyer is your best means of getting charges dropped or a plea bargain. Of course, charges dropped is much better, but usually you will get some penalties. The main goal of a DUI defense is to limit charges, by showing evidence and influencing the opinion of judge or jury.
Just remember, without a proper lawyer in any criminal law case, your chances of charges being dropped or getting a plea bargain are much less.