If you’ve been accused of a DUI, you may wonder what options you have, especially if you feel that the evidence is stacked against you. One option that many individuals accused of a DUI choose is a plea deal. During a plea bargain or plea deal, a prosecutor may ask you whether you’d like to plead guilty to the offense. In some cases, you may be offered a lesser penalty or lesser sentencing for pleading guilty. Yet, pleading guilty to a DUI in Mississippi carries with it some serious consequences. Not only does the crime stay on your record, but it can also affect your cost of insurance, and also restrict certain rights you may currently take for granted. This is why it is important that you always speak to the DUI defense lawyer at the Bryson Law Firm, PLLC before taking any plea deal.
- If you are innocent, you may want to consider trial. Because the consequences of a charge of guilt for a DUI can be so serious, if you are in fact innocent, it may be in your best interests to fight for your innocence in court. If you were wrongfully arrested, if your BAC tests were botched, or if you were profiled, you may be able to fight your DUI in court, protect your reputation, and avoid the long-term costs and consequences of having a DUI on your record. According to a Cornell University Law paper, individuals who are innocent sometimes plead guilty. They do this for several reasons. In some cases, they plead guilty because prosecutors threaten serious sentencing. They may plead guilty to avoid jail time or ensure that they aren’t charged for a more serious crime. Prosecutors may use scare tactics to get you to plead guilty. It is important to review all your options with a DUI defense lawyer before you make any admission of guilt.
- Judges may impose mandatory sentences. In Mississippi, if you are found guilty of a DUI, you will be required to use an ignition interlock device and may be required to attend a special alcohol class in order to get your license back. You will also be required to have proof of insurance in order to get a license, which may raise your insurance premiums. Many individuals plead guilty to reduce their charges to a “reckless” driving charge in order to avoid mandatory sentencing requirements. A study performed by the Journal of Criminal Justice found that judges always implemented mandatory sentences in DUI cases.
- Plea deals are compromises. You’ll likely have to face consequences of some kind if you plead guilty. Your lawyer can help you better understand the nature and scope of those consequences before you make a decision.
- Don’t admit guilt during negotiations. During the negotiation process, the prosecutor may use anything you say against you later in court if you choose not to take a deal. Always work with a DUI defense lawyer during this process. Remember that everything you say and do can be used against you in court.
- Formalize the deal. You’ll need to appear before a judge and the judge will have to accept the deal. Having a lawyer on your side to guide you through the technicalities of this process will ensure that you protect your rights and don’t admit guilt without a formal deal on the table.
The decision to plead guilty for a DUI is a highly charged and highly personal matter that should always be discussed with a qualified attorney. If you’ve been charged with a DUI and are considering your options, it is important to speak to a qualified criminal defense lawyer before making any admission of guilt. Visit www.brysonlawfirmpllc.com or call 877-717-5718.