What You Should Know Before Accepting a DUI Plea Deal
DUI or DWI is a very serious offense. Not only can it result in severe punishment such as jail time and hefty fines, but the repercussions can be especially harsh if someone is injured while you were driving under the influence. In some cases, drivers are allowed to accept a plea deal rather than taking the chance of going to court and receiving a much harsher sentence. If you have been charged with DUI and you are thinking about taking a plea deal, here are some thing to consider.
You Are Not Required To Accept A DUI Plea Deal
There are some people who are so frightened at the idea of going to jail that they are willing to accept any deal. While you may not have to serve an jail time, you may have to deal with other hardships as a result. For example, many people who are first-time offenders may be offered probation. As a result, your employment and housing opportunities may be negatively affected.
Before accepting any deals, talk it over with your attorney and give it some thought in order to ensure you are making the best choice.
An Attorney Is Necessary
Representing yourself in a DUI case is one of the worst choices you could make. If you are not familiar with the case law you won’t be able to know if you’re getting a fair deal. While you may have the tendency to go with your gut, this is not an instance where that is a wise choice. Hiring an attorney will increase the chances of you ending up with a good, fair deal.
Be Willing To Bend A Little
Sometimes people walk into plea discussions with the idea that they are not willing to back down for anyone. This is not smart since prosecutors are less willing to offer deals to people who are being combative and hard to communicate with. If you know that the evidence is in their favor, there is no way you will walk away scot-free. Understanding this before walking into a meeting should increase your willingness to compromise.
Do Not Admit Guilt When Trying To Plea
One of the biggest mistakes DUI offenders make is admitting their guilt to the prosecutor. They get so excited during plea talks that they are not as guarded as they should be, and sometimes this leads to revealing more information than necessary. The only time you should ever admit guilt is in private talks with your attorney or in the courtroom when the plea is being entered.
Keep An Eye Out For The Arresting Officer
Fortunately for some people who are charged with DUI, the police officer who arrested them is not always available to appear in court. There is a very slim chance that a judge will hear the case at all since the only person who was there to confirm your actions is not present.
If you are offered a plea deal shortly before the court session is scheduled to start, look around to see if you spot the officer. If not, there is a chance that he may not be there, so there should be some hesitation about accepting a deal.
A Judge Is Not Required To Accept A Deal
Sometimes the prosecutor offers the offender a deal that the judge feels is far too lenient. In that case, they are allowed to reject the deal and impose the punishment that they think is fair. If it looks like the judge is not going to accept the plea that was offered, you should consider withdrawing your plea and taking your chances in going to trial.
Understand The Different Types Of Deals
There are several different options when it comes to deals being made with DUI offenders. Knowing what they are is a great way to understand whether any deal you are being offered is fair and conducive to the crime you have committed. Common DUI plea bargains include:
- Being allowed to plead guilty to something that is less serious than what you were originally charged with.
- If there are multiple charges, pleading guilty to one to avoid prosecution on the others.
- Deals that do not involve losing your license, going to jail or paying an exorbitant amount of money in fees.
Now, there are certainly many other types of deals, but these are the most common and being aware of them can help you determine if the deal you’re offered is fair.
As mentioned above, if you’ve been charged with DUI seek the assistance of a defense attorney. An attorney is knowledgeable and experienced, and can be your advocate. We offer free initial criminal defense consultations at our firm. To request a meeting, call us at 763-591-0552, or fill out an online contact form and we’ll connect with you.
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