If you have been arrested for and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), one of the most important issues you will face is whether to fight your charges or accept a plea bargain.
Though the prosecuting attorney may not offer a plea bargain in every case, this is one possible scenario that will arise during criminal proceedings. The prosecution has the power to offer a reduced sentence and/or charges in exchange for you entering a plea of "guilty" or "no contest" in relation to your DUI case. A plea agreement is typically offered to save the time, expense and manpower associated with taking a DUI case all the way through criminal court proceedings – and depending on the unique circumstances it may or may not be in a defendant's best interests.
Deciding whether to fight your DUI charges or to accept a plea bargain is a personal choice you must make based on your own needs and concerns, but you should not take it lightly. Having a competent DUI defense attorney to offer insight regarding the exact impact such a bargain will have on every area of your life can help you make an informed choice. An attorney can also advise you of your chances if you choose to fight your charges. After all, a better scenario to any DUI case is an acquittal or dismissal rather than a plea of guilty or no contest – even if it is to a lesser charge.
How can you and your attorney determine whether to fight or plea? These are a few factors you may wish to consider:
- What physical evidence does the prosecuting attorney have against you?
- Are there witnesses who can corroborate the prosecution's version of events?
- Were any errors made in your breath or blood testing that could exclude such evidence of your alleged intoxication?
- Has your attorney uncovered other evidence that supports your innocence?
- What penalties may you face if you are convicted as opposed to if you accept a plea bargain for a lesser charge/sentence?
- What long-term consequences may you face for accepting a plea bargain?
- What is the difference between the charges in the plea agreement versus the original DUI charges filed against you?
- How confident is your attorney that your charges can be fought in court?
- Are you willing to take the risk to challenge your charges in court? (It is impossible to guarantee an acquittal or dismissal – there is always some degree of risk).
Looking at the facts of your case, your personal preferences and the answers to the above questions, you and your attorney can decide whether you would like to accept a plea agreement or fight your charges to the fullest extent.
If you would like to talk about an arrest or charges related to DUI, a legal professional at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry may be able to help. We offer a strictly confidential consultation to discuss your needs and concerns, and we have the experience to offer insight that can help you make the right choices about your case. Call an Orange County DUI lawyer today at (949) 537-2202.