Atlanta, GA- If you’ve been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, you are probably already aware of the legal challenges you face. There are many facets to a DUI case and before you decide to go to trial, you should consider making a plea bargain with the prosecution.
Most drivers who are charged driving under the influence will probably be approached by prosecutors to make a plea bargain. Court trials are costly and defendants can enter into a plea bargain instead of taking the chance that they will receive a guilty verdict in trial.
Most states allow DUI defendants to make a plea bargain in which they plead guilty, no contest or agree to a lesser charged such as reckless driving. These “deals” with prosecutors will result in less severe penalties.
A DUI defendant can enter into a plea bargain at almost any point after they have been charged, but some courts do set limits on when they will accept a plea bargain. Most states give judges the right to deny a plea bargain at any point during the course of a case. But prosecutors will often put a deadline on a plea bargain to force the defendant to make a decision.
Plea bargains are not as simple as pleading guilty to a charge and getting a lesser sentence. They can take shape in many ways and gives both parties the ability to negotiate for an arrangement that satisfies all parties involved. The initial offer a person is given is not necessarily the best deal so it’s their best interest to retain a DUI attorney to negotiate for a better plea bargain.
Plea bargains can be negotiated informally by phone or can take place in a more formal setting such a “pre-trial’ or “settlement” conferences in judge’s chambers. Once
It’s important to bear in mind that prosecutors don’t have to offer a plea bargain, but they often seek out this option to save the time and expense of going to trial. A DUI defendant shouldn’t enter into these negotiations with an inflexible attitude. Plea bargains are about compromise on both sides of the case, and the defendant must consider the weight of the prosecution’s case against them. The stronger the prosecution’s case, the more compromise the defendant will have to make. If the defendant has retained a DUI attorney, their counsel will evaluate the prosecution’s case and determine what the appropriate compromise is.
You don’t have to take the first plea bargain offered to you, unless your local DUI attorney advises you. A DUI attorney will be aware of the plea bargains that prosecutors usually offer and will tell you whether to take an offer or if you would be better served by holding out for another deal. Letting a plea deadline to expire will often result in better offer from the prosecution.
If you and the prosecution can come up with a plea bargain that both parties are satisfied you will have to appear before a judge and explain the arrangements. A judge has the right to refuse any plea bargain but often follow the recommendations of prosecutors. If a judge refuses a deal, the defendant can ask to withdraw their plea and go to trial.