Making the Right Deal for Your DUI Plea Bargain
It is almost guaranteed that most of the individuals who have been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) were at some point approached by the prosecutor in the case to arrange a plea deal. The way these deals work is the offender pleas to a certain offense in exchange for concessions on his or her penalties. Anyone who watches law dramas on television probably knows a little bit about how plea bargaining works, but here are a few things you should know if you are facing the real thing.
Deals Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime
An offender and his or her attorney (or just the offender if he or she is representing him or herself) can approach the prosecutor at any time during the case to arrange a plea deal. The discussions about the plea deal can either be formal or informal – sometimes they are “mandated,” which means that the conversations need to take place during “pre-trial” or “settlement” in the judge’s chambers, but in other cases, they can be done informally during a meeting or even over the phone.
There are a Variety of Deals
Plea deals are not restricted to pleading guilty to DUI for a lesser penalty – often times, they come in many shapes and sizes depending on the circumstances surrounding an individual’s case. Prosecutors and the offender’s attorney have the freedom to work together to figure out an arrangement that benefits both parties. While there is no set structure for a plea deal, these deals usually fall into three categories:
- Pleading guilty to a lesser offense than the one the offender is charged with
- Pleading guilty to one charge in order to have another charge dismissed
- Agreeing to penalties that do not include high fines or a driver’s license suspension
Keep in Mind a Plea Deal is a Compromise
It is important for offenders to remember that the prosecutor is not obligated to make a deal or accept a deal that is offered to him or her. Prosecutors are typically motivated by a need to keep court expenses low and keep the calendar open for other, more serious cases. Offenders should not, however, walk into negotiations with a prosecutor with a “winner takes all” attitude – compromise is key in securing a plea deal that provides the best possible outcome for both the prosecutor and the offender in the case.