Generally, either you pled not guilty to the charge and have a trial or try to reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor and pled guilty to the charge based upon the plea agreement. Plea agreements are generally not binding upon the sentencing judge but it is rare for a judge to reject them. In very rare cases, an attorney can get the prosecutor to agree to dismiss the case based upon a factual or legal ground. Other times, if the police did some wrong while investigating the case, an attorney can get a judge to suppress evidence or statements that make it difficult for the case to be proven at trial.
In Missouri and Kansas it is rare to get a DUI charge reduced. The seriousness (i.e. whether the charge is a misdemeanor or a felony and the degree of the same) is primarily based upon the defendant’s prior convictions. An attorney can investigate the prosecutor’s allegations regarding his or her client’s priors and if an error has been made the attorney may be able to get the prosecutor to reduce the degree or class of the DUI.
In Kansas, some jurisdictions offer diversion programs for first time offenders whereby the Defendant admits guilt but does not plead guilty. The case is stayed for a period of time and if the Defendant successfully follows the terms of diversion, the case is dismissed at the end of the period.
There are various alternatives in Missouri to imprisonment but the most common are either a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS) or a suspended execution of sentence (SES). In either case, the person is put on probation. With a SIS no term of imprisonment is given and the disposition is not treated as a conviction but the person is subject to the full range of punishment if a judge finds they violated a term of his or her probation. With a SES a term of imprisonment is given but the sentence is suspended pending their successful completion of probation. If a judge finds they violated probation then they could potentially have to serve the previously declared sentence. Further, as a condition of probation the judge could order the person to serve time in jail or several other conditions.
A DUI is a very serious charge that can have lifelong consequences and the advice of an attorney is critical in minimizing the impact of the charge upon the accused's life.
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