Things To Keep In Mind About A DUI Plea Bargain

Posted on: 26 January 2022

Those arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) may be facing some surprisingly severe penalties. Having an alternative way to deal with things has become almost customary in most criminal cases, including DUI cases. DUI plea bargains can be beneficial to both the defendant and the prosecution. DUI plea bargain issues are bound to come up if you or a loved one has been arrested so read on and find out more.

Each DUI case is unique, and the quality of a plea bargain depends on the charges, the defendant's record, the state minimum sentencing laws, and more. Defendants who are charged with an ordinary DUI with no enhancements, for example, will be offered a better plea bargain. Enhancements mean there was no accident, no one was injured, and no other charges other than the DUI were involved. First-time offenders may also be offered a better deal than those with a record. Almost all states have guidelines that ensure minimum fines, jail time, etc. be imposed. A good plea bargain for DUI, then, might be offered that meets but does not exceed the state-mandated maximum.

One way to avoid those minimum sentencing rules is to drop the DUI charges and change it to a lesser charge like reckless driving. This is obviously a much less serious charge but may only be available when the prosecutor has a problem with their evidence or something else. For example, the arresting officer might have been suspended from the force and cannot testify against the defendant if the case should come to court.

It's All About the Case

Plea bargains are not an invention of defense lawyers. The real reason for plea bargains is that it avoids all the trouble, time, and expense of taking a case to court. When a defendant agrees to plead guilty with a plea bargain, they also give up their rights to a trial. The decision must be discussed with their criminal defense lawyer before they sign anything because after that, they are locked into the deal.

The Plea Bargain Process

Plea bargains can be offered at any time after an arrest and can even come about after the trial has begun. The defendant's defense lawyer will be working with the prosecutor's office to review the evidence and other facts of the arrest. Once a plea bargain is offered, often before the trial begins, the defense lawyer can present the agreement and help the defendant understand the consequence of signing or not signing the plea bargain.

To find out more, speak to a criminal defense lawyer.