I will be registering for college and would like to finish a DWI case as soon as possible. At what point is a first plea bargain for a DWI offered? Could my attorney request a plea bargain before the ALR hearing, arraignment, discovery, or pretrial? How soon would DA be likely to accept a plea? And what type of sentence would they most likely accept so quickly? Would they reduce the charge?
You should be able to plea to the case any time after it's filed. In that situation, you will just have to take whatever the DA is willing to offer and accept a permanent conviction. If this is a class B DWI, the maximum punishment is 180 days in jail or two years probation and a $2,000 fine. If you want the best result possible, which could include a reduction, dismissal, or acquittal at trial, you're going to have to hire an experienced DWI attorney and give him several months to go through the discovery process and properly work your case.
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If you were not in an accident, were generally cooperative, and had a BAC of less than .15, you will qualify for a plea on obstruction of highway here. It's still a permanent conviction on your record, but some of the collateral consequences are different. It's a contractual plea, and you agree to some stuff that isn't normally required on a first DWI, like ignition interlock for half of the probation term. Your attorney can review with you the consequences of fighting the case versus taking that deal after reviewing the evidence. If you don't already have an attorney, there are a lot of good ones. If you can't afford one, the court will appoint somebody to you.
Attorney Meenu Walters - 210-294-2515 - [email protected]
All is technically possible, but requires the agreement of the State's Attorney. Are you satisfied that you do not have ANY defense that should be considered BEFORE you do anything else? I don't see how you can make that evaluation if there has been no discovery. Won't you feel like an idiot if you plea and later discover that you had a great, winning defense? There certainly won't be any reduction in the charge if you rush to plea. You need to chill, be sure you have an excellent DWI attorney and work with your attorney to achieve a prompt, smart resolution of your case.
If you rush tge process you are not in a very good negotiating position.
A first plea offer may be offered as soon as the information is signed and filed with the clerk of the court.
Yes, your attorney can request a plea bargain early. As soon as the case is filed. But as I said above you don't have a good bargaining position.
Again, anything is possible but generally the faster you push the DA the worse your deal. Plea bargaining is like a stand off, a negotiation, a battle of wills, meaning that the stronger the will of the attorneys the less likely a plea will take place.
You will likely get a bad deal like 6 months in jail probated for 18 months and a $1000 fine plus court costs. This is the standard in my area.
The only way I can see the DA reducing the charge in a early plea is if the facts are so obviously bad that the DA knows the case is impossible to prosecute successfully but wants to get you on at least something that will stick like an obstruction of highway.
My theory on a quick plea before the information is filed is that you can actually talk the DA into filing the case if you are so restless and anxious that you want to get tge case over as in your situation with college.
There's no hurry. You can handle the DWI and go to college. It's not a conviction at this time. And lets think about a couple of things. (1) you cannot get a deferred adjudication on DWI on Texas so if you plea it results in a criminal conviction, unless you get a miracle dismissal or dismissal and filed as an obstruction of highway, etc AND (2) plea bargains are pretty standard as well as the fact you will have to start dealing with paying probation fees, fines, community service, court costs, and reporting.
Now, here's how I'd handle if I'm your attorney. You hire me. I tell you to go to college and enjoy your life. Go to college and live the student life. Enjoy every second of school with classmates and start your true adulthood. You hired me to take care of your problem. And that's what I'll do. You don't worry because you hired one of the best in the State of Texas. If you hire a good lawyer then your peace of mind will follow. Your attorney should want to take all the pressure off of you. Not add to the pressure. Some lawyers are plea bargain lawyers and they will want you to plea at all cost. If you are not happy with your attorney or you don't think he/she is treating you right tell them straight up how you feel. If they still can't make you rest assured then hire someone else and let the bad apple loose.
Michael J. Crawford is a Criminal and Family Law Attorney located in Corsicana, Texas. He practices throughout the State of Texas and focusing on the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex including: Navarro, Ellis, Dallas, Hill, Tarrant, Johnson, McClennan, Freestone, Henderson, and Kaufman Counties. Answering a Question on AVVO does not create an attorney client relationship. If you have a legal problem please contact an attorney directly and do not rely solely on information received through an answer to a question on AVVO. My contact information is [email protected] or (903) 875-8500.
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