Each year, 1,500,000 people are arrested for drunk driving. If this has happened to you and you’re charged with a DUI, you still have the option of taking a plea deal. Prosecutors will reach out at some point, as long as you’re willing to plead to a certain offense. Although this may sound like the best option, there are some considerations you need to be aware of before agreeing on anything.
Plea Bargain Deals Vary
Not all plea bargains are equal. They do vary, depending on the severity of your DUI charge. There may be times when you’re offered multiple deals, in which case you can select one that satisfies all parties. Then there are other times when you’re given a one-time deal and have to decide on the spot.
Plea bargains are typically structured in three ways. These include pleading guilty to a less-serious offense, having one charge dismissed in exchange for another, or agreeing to a sentence with a small fine attached.
What you need to keep in mind is the evidence against you. If there is a lot, then you’re bargaining power is diminished. However, when there’s limited evidence, it may be best to decline all deals and take your chances in court. Weigh the pros and cons of each option so that you are not as greatly impacted by your DUI charge.
Deals Can Be Done Anytime
If you’re worried about doing time in jail or paying a hefty fine, just know that plea bargains can be done at any time. You ask your DUI law firm to reach out to the prosecutor. They’ll get the negotiations rolling and keep you updated the entire time.
These negotiations can be done formally in pre-trial or they can be done over the phone. Choose a method that you’re most comfortable with and know that you never have to settle if you don’t want to.
Admission of Guilt
Unfortunately, some people are lulled into a false sense of security when talking to the prosecutor. They may seem friendly and actually interested in lessening or getting rid of some the charges. These people then lower their guards and may admit guilt.
Under no circumstances should you ever admit guilt. This admission can be used against you in court, making it virtually impossible to reach a plea bargain. A red flag to pay particularly attention to is when the prosecutor says off the record when trying to delve deeper into your charge. Know that the prosecutor is not there to represent you. That’s the job of your DUI law firm.
The moment you’re pulled over by a cop for a DUI, your future may seem bleak. It doesn’t have to be, though, if you make a plea bargain and know how to maneuver these negotiations in your favor. Getting help from a DUI attorney is a must for strengthening your case and helping you reach a better deal.
How Courts Work, americanbar.org
DUI Arrest Statistics, statisticsbrain.com