In some jurisdictions, you can plea bargain your driving under the influence case so that you don't go to court, but plead guilty to some charges and get a mitigated sentence. Before you enter into such a bargain, you need to understand the following things.
Understand it's a Negotiation
Plea bargaining is not a chance for you to talk your way out of your DUI charges. Rather, plea bargaining is a negotiation – a give and stage affair – where you must give something in exchange for the prosecutor's deal. This 'something' is usually a guilty plea to a downgraded DUI charge. Being a negotiation, you may also get a better deal than the prosecutor's opening offer, so there is no harm in trying for that.
Understand the Offer
There are various forms of offers that you can get during a plea deal, but they mostly boil down to two major categories. The first category is you plead guilty to one charge, and the prosecutor drops some of your charges. For example, if you have been charged with misdemeanor DUI, public intoxication, and resisting arrest, the prosecutor may allow you to plead guilty to the misdemeanor DUI charge and drop the other charges.
The second category is where the prosecutor allows you to plead guilty to reduced charges. Say you have been charged with aggravated DUI; the prosecution may offer you the deal of pleading guilty to ordinary DUI. You need to understand whatever offer the prosecutor is offering you since they have different consequences. A good understanding allows you to negotiate better and make an informed decision.
Understand the Ramifications
As previously mentioned, you won't walk scot-free just because you have a plea deal. Accepting a plea deal means pleading guilty to something, even if it is reduced charges. Once you plead guilty to a crime, you have to accept the conviction and its associated consequences. For example, the guilty plea will go on your record and affect your schooling, job prospects, and subsequent criminal charges. Understand this fact before you make up your mind to accept a plea deal or fight the charges in court.
Understand There May Be a Time Limit
The prosecution may not force you to make up your mind on the spot when they offer you a plea deal, but you also don't have forever to deliberate on the deal. Most prosecutors or jurisdictions have a time limit as to how long you can tale to consider a deal. Get a clear understanding of the period available for you to consider the deal so that you don't run out of time.
A DUI lawyer is the best person to negotiate your plea bargain deal. The lawyer is more likely to be skilled, experienced, and respected by the prosecution than you.Share