Why a Plea Bargain is Sometimes the Only Option for a DUI

DUI Plea BargainThough the media portrays a different picture, most criminal cases never see the inside of a courtroom. Instead, the defendant enters a plea agreement or a plea bargain that determines the penalty for the crime. In many cases, a plea bargain places limitations on conviction or promises a particular sentence. Sometimes, plea bargaining is the best outcome in a DUI case.

Plea Bargains

A plea bargain is the legal term for an agreement between the prosecution and defendant in which each party agrees to something in order to receive a benefit. Prosecutors tend to favor pleas because these reduce the effort, time, and money required to go to trial and achieve a conviction. Defendants typically choose pleas due to reduced jail time. Entering a plea usually results in a less severe sentence (featuring less jail time) than losing the case in court.

In a DUI case, the attorney for the defendant may be able to get the prosecution to reduce the severity of the charge if the defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea. This plea may involve the defendant pleading guilty to a reckless driving charge, which carries less severe penalties, than a DUI. At any time prior to the sentencing phase, a defendant can retract a plea and opt for a trial.

Reasons to Accept a Plea Bargain

It is reasonable to assume that the prosecution in a DUI case has done its homework before offering a plea bargain to the defendant. The prosecutors have already reviewed the case and studied the evidence. If there were any victims or witnesses to the event, prosecutors have spoken to these individuals. The components of the plea are what the prosecutors consider appropriate and fair.

Defendants, particularly those who represent themselves, often reject plea bargains. They choose to go to trial, during which the prosecution may recommend a more severe sentence. If the prosecution suggests the same sentence at trial as during the plea, this recommendation may not be followed by the judge. In general, a judge is allowed to impose any sentence deemed just even if a plea was offered.

A trial may reveal more about the DUI arrest and the individual charged with the crime. This can cause the prosecution to alter its recommended sentence. If the defendant rejects a plea and is subsequently convicted of DUI during a trial due to new evidence unearthed by the prosecution, the defendant may be sentenced to jail time.

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3 thoughts on “Why a Plea Bargain is Sometimes the Only Option for a DUI”

  1. I got a DUI < I blew 09, I had a perfect record until now. I'm 68 years old. what should I do…. can you get it thrown out ? or if I go for a lesser charge what charge ?? I was told reckless driving is a really bad charge. I need to work and almost all jobs won't have you with a DUI .. Help

    Reply
  2. My husband has been arrested for fourth DUI. We were pulled over because of a “blue can being thrown out the window” which was untrue. Neither myself or husband had thrown anything out the window. I am not sure how to prove that we didn’t…but I’m not sure how the police officer is going to prove that we did (especially with no evidence). Will this help dismiss the case?

    We live in Nebraska and the fourth DUI is considered a felony. I will take any advice help I can get to fight this. How will prison help anything? Is there a chance that treatment will be an option instead?

    Thank you,

    RC

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  3. I was stopped by THP who said I was weaving,I was looking for a radio station. I admitted to having one shot of liquor with ice and 1/2 can of coke. I refused the blood/alcohol test, because of past issues with punctures. I Never speed anywhere. I was appointed a Public Defendant. I told him that I wanted to take the Plea Bargain. Because the arresting THP and I exchanged words, he had the DA to change my plea causing my case to go to General Sessions. The only person allowed to talk was the THP who told nothing but lies, in retailiation to our exchanging words. During Circuit Court, again, I took the plea and was charged with the DUI, speeding (dismissed, plus court fees) and failure to maintain (dismissed and court fees dismissed). My fines are $1300, restricted license,probation (weekly) plus $46 month, 48 hrs. in jail. And, I might have to get the Interlock device.
    My question: Can anything be done to the DA for changing my plea?

    Reply

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