Written by attorney Wendy J. Norman

Should you accept a DUI plea bargain?

DUI plea bargains can be powerful bargaining tools, especially when the evidence against a suspect is unquestionable. An experienced DUI attorney will be crucial when negotiating this type of bargain. If you were arrested for DUI, you are probably very concerned about what will happen next. DUI charges are extremely serious, and a conviction can cost you your license, hefty fines and even incarceration. Whenever somebody is arrested for DUI, they will be in the position of having to make some important choices.

What is a plea bargain?

One of the important issues they will face is whether or not to take the case to trial or accept a plea bargain. A plea bargain is just what it sounds like; it's an agreement made between the prosecution and the defense where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge, in exchange for a prosecutor dropping a more serious charge. This can be an asset to a defendant, especially when there is overwhelming evidence against them.

An example of an effective plea bargain would be where the defendant pleads guilty to the offense of reckless driving instead of DUI. Pleading guilty to reckless driving would involve lighter penalties than a standard DUI. Plea bargains can vary; they don't have a "cookie cutter" approach. For example, a defendant can plead guilty or no contest to a reduced charge or they can plead guilty to the original charge; however, with negotiated penalties. It is always a good idea to accept an offer from the prosecutor when they are willing to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor.

The most favorable are those where a prosecutor is willing to reduce a drinking and driving charge to a mere traffic infraction. In these types of cases, the driver agrees to plead guilty to an infraction such as speeding, or making an unsafe lane change in exchange for dropping the DUI charge.

In cases like these, the driver may only have to pay a fine, and in some cases they are able to attend traffic school and have the offense dropped from their driving record. Not only that, but they are able to avoid a driver's license suspension and a criminal record altogether.

Having a highly experienced DUI attorney on your side will be crucial during the criminal process. A trained eye will know how to look for errors made by law enforcement during and after the arrest. Generally, the prosecution will know when they have a weak case against a defendant; however, it will take an experienced lawyer to reveal weaknesses in the prosecution's case. If you want to have the best opportunity to fight your DUI case, waste no time in contacting a highly experienced DUI lawyer right away to discuss your charges and any possible defenses.

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