A Plea Bargain in Michigan for a DUI/OWI

A plea bargain in Michigan is an agreement that is made in a DUI/OWI case between the defendant and the prosecutor. In this agreement, the defendant agrees to plead “guilty” or “no contest” to a DUI/OWI charge in return for some concession on the part of the prosecutor.

This can mean different things. It may mean that the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a charge that is less serious or to one of several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges. Or, it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge or charges in return for a more lenient sentence.

A necessary option

A plea bargain is a necessary option in the court justice system in Michigan. If there was no option for a plea bargain, the courts would become overloaded to the point that nothing could be done.

There are three different types of plea bargains that are open to a defendant. They are

Charge bargaining – This is when a defendant pleads guilty to a less serious crime than the one he or she was originally charged with.
Sentence bargaining – This is the form of plea bargain when a defendant pleads to receive a lesser sentence.
Count bargaining – This is the type of plea bargain when a defendant pleads guilty to a lesser number of charges.

A plea bargain is likely to be offered in Michigan when the prosecutor does not have a strong case or the evidence is weak. A plea bargain may also be offered when:

Both sides do not have to face the uncertainty of going to trial
A defendant may avoid the cost and time of presenting a defense at a trial
The court system is spared the burden of conducting a trial every time a crime is charged
A defendant may avoid the publicity that a trial would involve
The prosecution is saved from the expense and time of a lengthy trial
A defendant may avoid the risk of harsher punishment.

In Michigan, DUI is technically referred to as OWI (operating while intoxicated). The laws against drunk driving in Michigan are strong, and the enforcement of them are tough. It can be advantageous to enter in to a plea bargain if it is offered in Michigan.

For example, if a plea bargain in Michigan enables the charges to be reduced from OWI to impaired driving, the penalties are less severe. Here is a comparison of penalties for impaired driving and OWI.

Impaired Driving:

Driver’s license restricted for 90 days
4 points added to driving record
$500 driver responsibility fee for 2 consecutive years
Fine, court costs and other expenses from $600 to $1200
Face up to 93 days in jail
A term of probation

OWI

Driver’s license suspended for 6 months and cannot drive at all for first 30 days
6 points added to driving record
$1000 driver responsibility fee for 2 consecutive years
Fine, court costs and other expenses from $800 to $1500
Face up to 93 days in jail, but greater risks are involved than with impaired driving
A term of probation that is potentially longer and more restricted than with impaired driving

A plea bargain is definitely something to be considered if it is offered in a Michigan DUI/OWI.  A good DUI/OWI attorney can help make the right decision.

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