Should I Plead Guilty to DUI?

DUI, driving under the influence, is a serious crime and one that isn’t taken lightly. If convicted of DUI you’ll face penalties that could include jail time, fines, and a suspension of your driver’s license. If you’ve been arrested or charged with DUI you’ll need to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. There are some things you need to understand before making any decisions after your arrest. If you’ve been arrested, you will usually be arraigned quickly. An arraignment is also called a first appearance. It is the first time you’ll be in front of the judge. The judge will give you the exact charges, ask for your plea, and set bail at this time.

Types of Pleas

There are three main types of pleas to pick from – guilty, no-guilty, and no-contest. It is essential to understand the best option before making a plea since it can have long-term effects. Talk to your attorney before you plead in your case. Most often, you should plead not-guilty. If so, your case will proceed forward to trial. If you plead guilty you’ll be sentenced immediately. A plea of no-contest is sometimes a good idea, particularly if there are further legal actions that could be taken against you. For example, if you had an accident while driving DUI and hit a fence, the fence owner could sue you for the costs of fence repair. If you have plead guilty you’ll have no further defense against this lawsuit.

Plea Deals

Your attorney will discuss whether there is a possibility for a plea deal in your case. A plea deal is an offer that is made by the prosecutor and typically allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This may occur when the evidence against you is weak. If you have a lawyer, he will work with the prosecutor to try to work out some type of deal. This is often possible if your BAC was only slightly over the legal limit of 0.08% and if this is your first DUI. In some cases the charges may be lowered to reckless driving, as long as you plead guilty. Then you’ll be sentenced immediately, usually based on the recommendation of the prosecutor according to the deal that was struck. You may be required to be on probation for a length of time and perform community service or pay a fine.

Resolving a DUI

The decision of how to plead in a DUI case needs to be based on the individual circumstances of the situation. Each DUI case is different so it’s best to get assistance from an experienced DUI attorney. Your lawyer will review every aspect of your case from the time you were stopped through DUI testing and your arrest. Sometimes a DUI case can be settled more quickly with a plea deal while other times this won’t be possible. Talk to your lawyer before your first appearance to learn what is the best way to proceed.