Should I Plead Guilty To A Tennessee DUI?
Many times, especially with my younger clients, I am asked "can't I just plead guilty to this one DUI?" They assume that, since it's their first time and in trouble and they never intend to get in trouble again, that it would be cheaper and less time consuming to forego an attorney and plea out.
If I am arrested for DUI in Tennessee, is pleading guilty a reasonable option?Pleading guilty to DUI is never the first option given consideration if I am representing an individual accused of DUI. I have seen an opportunity to win a DUI case in some of the most unbelievable scenarios. I have seen success in situations that seem hopeless to the individual charged. However, I know every person's circumstance are different, their tolerance for risk is different, and their job and family considerations are different. The best place to start in making this decision is to understand what happens if you decide to plead guilty to DUI. While you may save money and time in the short run by pleading guilty, you are setting yourself up for long term hardships that could affect you for the rest of your life. An aggressive and creative attorney and a thorough and complete investigation of your particular case can be the combination to overcome the DUI charge and move forward in your life without it hanging over your head.
But what happens if I decide to plead guilty?If you plead guilty, there are certain portions of the DUI law that apply to every conviction including: mandatory jail time, mandatory driver's license suspension, statutorily required 48 hours of trash pick-up with the insignia of "I am a Drunk Driver" on your shirt, a mandatory fine and a criminal conviction that cannot ever be expunged or taken off of your criminal history. If convicted with certain blood alcohol levels, an individual can be required to have harsh restrictions related to any restricted driver's license, including the requirement of ignition interlock device.
So what happens if I decide to fight this charge?No outcome is certain, but you will have a much better chance of having the DUI dismissed or lowered to a lesser charge, or perhaps obtaining a pre-trial diversion if you have a clean prior record, with an experienced attorney. Even if you are convicted, there are methods to AVOID serving jail time in a penal facility.