When you are arrested and charged with DUI, the potential for serious punishment is possible. You can lose your driver's license, go to jail, and pay thousands of dollars in fines if you get convicted of a DUI. Your criminal defense attorney will evaluate the facts of your arrest and advise you on the best course of action to take, but your plea is strictly up to you. You might plead either guilty or not guilty, but there is another way of pleading that could be more beneficial to you in several ways. Read on to learn more about DUI plea bargain deals.
Pleading Guilty to a Lesser Charge
Rather than go through a trial, a plea bargain allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge or for a reduced sentence. When you agree to a plea deal, you are automatically giving up one of your important rights — the right to have your case heard by a jury of your peers. You are sentenced right away (or shortly), and you can begin to serve your punishment.
Why Offer Plea Bargains?
These legal deals allow defendants to be freed from jail immediately (in most cases). Doing so frees up jail space and clears the court calendars. Plea bargains can be accomplished using a single court appearance that takes less than five minutes or so.
Pleading Guilty and Plea Bargains
Since you are forgoing a trial, no one should be pressured to accept a plea bargain. Be sure you understand what you might face if you took your case to trial before you agree to a deal. Your attorney can advise you about the ramifications but cannot make the decision for you.
What is Your Plea?
You should also understand that there are several ways that a plea bargain can benefit you when it comes to the charges. Not only will you avoid a trial, but your record may list a lesser charge of reckless driving instead of a DUI. Not having to go through a trial means lower legal and attorney fees. Even if there is overwhelming evidence of a DUI charge (or worse) against you, a plea bargain might allow you to have a lighter sentence for pleading guilty to a DUI. That might mean any of the following consequences:
- A shorter driver's license suspension.
- Less time in community service.
- Lower fines and court fees.
- Fewer educational requirements.
- Little to no probation.
It's vital that you communicate with your DUI lawyer about your wishes during a plea bargain negotiation. Trust your attorney to give you the information you need to make the best decision in your case.