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Should I Take a Plea Bargain for a DUI Case?

If you were arrested in relation to DUI charges you may be considering your legal options and the implications of your choices. A plea bargain may be a good way for you to resolve your case while limiting wasted time and money and accepting less severe penalties. If you are unsure whether or not to take a plea bargain for your DUI case work with a knowledgeable Marquette DUI lawyer for help.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement that a prosecutor and defendant can make before a case goes to trial. Once the prosecution has examined the details of the case and estimated the outcome based on witness testimony, evidence, and precedent, they may come up with an alternative solution that can help avoid trial.

The defendant may agree to plead guilty to the same or a lesser crime, given that the prosecution will recommend a less severe sentencing. Instead of facing charges for a DUI, a defendant may plead guilty to a reckless driving charge, for example, which does not have as harsh of penalties.

What Are the Advantages of a Plea Bargain?

There are various advantages to accepting a plea bargain. Consider the following when determining what your next move should be.

  • Reduced charges: A defendant can avoid a more serious charge. Having a reckless driving charge on your record is not nearly as significant as a DUI charge.
  • Reduced penalties: If you are convicted of a DUI you will face severe penalties including fines, jail time, probation, license suspension, and more. Reduced charges mean reduced penalties and less harsh consequences to pay.
  • Quick resolution: Resolving the case faster can benefit both parties. Convenience plays a part, but defendants should hope for a fast resolution to avoid expensive litigation and fees. Prosecutors can benefit from a quick resolution because of the extensive caseload they likely have.
  • Private solution: DUI trials can occur in an open court and are generally public knowledge. If the situation will impact your social standing or cause embarrassment a plea bargain will help avoid a public trial.

What Are the Disadvantages?

Plea bargains may have disadvantages as well. Before accepting, read below.

  • Admit of guilt: When you accept a plea bargain you have to plead guilty to a crime. Some people struggle with this and cannot in good conscience agree.
  • Limited negotiating power: The prosecution has the majority of the negotiating power because of their standing. You and your attorney may wish to alter the terms of the agreement but the prosecutor can reject them.
  • Waive the right to trial: An issue with accepting a plea deal is that you might win the case when you go to trial. You can’t be sure but there is a possibility that you are pleading guilty when you could be found not guilty later on. By accepting the plea you will never know.
  • Could be rejected: Only a judge in a court of law can issue a ruling. If the judge reviews the plea bargain and does not deem it an acceptable punishment they may reject it and you will go to trial regardless.
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