Articles Posted in Plea Bargaining

If you are facing charges for driving under the suspicion of driving under the influence, there are two different ways you can be convicted. One, you would voluntarily enter a plea of guilty in court, or you would be found guilty by a jury.

At the very first appearance in Court you will be offered a plea bargain. This is an offer for what is believed to be a lower sentence if you plead guilty on that day. The potential consequences for a first time DUI offense include the following:

  • 3 to 5 years probation

When you are facing criminal charges it is highly recommended that you speak to a Los Angeles lawyer who specializes in DUIs. An experienced and knowledgeable attorney will be well versed in available defenses, in arguments to be made, and what the most effective strategy would be.

Without an attorney, you would not know if you had a defense available. If there is a strong defense that will work in your favor, that could mean your entire case could be dismissed or in the very least dismissed.

At your first court appearance, the arraignment, the prosecutor will offer a plea bargain. A plea bargain is generally offers a complete sentence in exchange for your guilty plea without going to trial. Most laypersons are not going to know what is a good offer, and what offer is not beneficial to them given the facts of their case. An attorney who has had experience will know when to accept and offer and when to say no, and proceed to trial. You need someone that has that expertise to provide you with guidance.

If you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, you have not yet been found guilty by the Court of law. This means that it has not yet gone on your record, and it will not unless Prosecutors can show that all of the elements of a DUI have been met beyond a reasonable doubt. There are two elements in a DUI; 1) the driver must be intoxicated and 2) the driver must be operating a vehicle. If both elements are not met, beyond a reasonable doubt, then the person cannot be found guilty.

There are a few ways a DUI case can play out. You can either enter a plea or be found either guilty or not guilty through trial. Lets consider the following factual hypothetical background, and then discuss the two different options a case can have.

Dina is driving home from a friend’s birthday party. She has had two beers and has smoked marijuana with her friends. On her way home, she runs a red light and is immediately stopped by officers. Officers ask if she has been drinking, to which Dina replies that she has, but has only had two beers. She also submits to a breathalyzer test, and blows a .10 BAC. She is arrested, and taken into custody.

When a person has been charge with drinking under the influence in a Los Angeles DUI Case , they will be given a date to appear in Court. This date is their arraignment. At the arraignment, the person’s rights will be read, the charges against them, and the potential consequences they may face. At the arraignment, they will also be given a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer made by prosecutors. If you accept the offer that day, you will plead guilty, and the case will be concluded.

The purpose of a plea bargain is to offer a set sentence, that may be lower than what a person could have gotten at Trial. This allows the person to know exactly what they are facing, rather than take the chance in Court. This seems like a great deal, however, it may not be if the person accepting the plea does not know if the offer is a good one.

Let’s consider an example. David has been charged with driving under the influence. He does not want to deal with the whole ordeal and case. He wants it to be over as soon as possible. He appears at the arraignment without an attorney. He has no criminal record, and his blood alcohol level is .09. He failed to stop at a stop sign and was pulled over and asked to submit to a field sobriety test. He was compliant and offered officers all the information that they needed.

When you have been stopped on suspicion of driving under the influence, you have not yet been convicted. Chances are you were arrested, and charged under California Vehicle Code §23152 or 23153. These are the California DUI statutes. You have yet to be found guilty of these charges before you can be convicted.

At the time of arrest you will be given a citation. This citation will state the date of your first court appearance and the courthouse at which you must appear. This is not optional, there is no mail in plea option, it is mandatory. Failure to appear at this court date or prior to that court date can result in a warrant out for your arrest and additional charges or sentences. It is a good idea to be present in court the day you are required to be. If you hire a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer, that lawyer may appear on your behalf as long as it is not a felony. In most DUI cases, a lawyer is allowed to appear on behalf of the person being charged. This is a great benefit because it saves you the time, hassle and trouble. It is a very anxiety provoking event and most people would rather not have to address it or deal with it.

That first date on your citation is called an Arraignment. At the arraignment you will be read your rights, potential sentences against you, the charges and you will be asked if you would like to enter a plea. You will also have the opportunity to speak to a prosecutor who will give you a plea bargain, or an offer as an incentive for you to plead guilty and resolve your case right then and there.

There are several ways you can be found guilty of a Los Angeles DUI. However, before any guilty verdicts are decided, there must first be an arrest, and a charge. After you have been charged and arrested, you will be given an arraignment date. You must appear in court on this day. This is mandatory, there is no excuse for you not to appear, and failure to do so could result in a bench warrant. The only way you do not have to appear is if you are represented by a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. If your lawyer meets the guidelines, then they can appear on your behalf.

At the arraignment you will be read the charges against you, the potential consequences and you will be asked to enter a plea. You will also be given a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer with usually a lesser sentence if you plead guilty. This is without a trial, without being heard, or without presenting any evidence. This is not always a good idea, and should warrant careful consideration and consulting with a legal professional.

You may enter a plea at this hearing, or ask for a continuance. Continuance may be given by the Judge for up to thirty days to hire an attorney, or to request discovery. Regardless, there are two major ways a plea of guilty may be entered.

When you are first pulled over and arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be given a citation notice that states a day and time, as well as a courthouse. This is your arraignment date. On the arraignment date, the Court will explain the charges against you, the possible penalties and will ask you if you wish to enter a plea at that time. At your arraignment, you will also have the opportunity to speak to a public defender, ask for a continuance to hire an attorney, and also be given a plea bargain from the Prosecutor.

A lot happens at an Arraignment, as it is a very important appearance. This is a court ordered mandatory appearance. The only excuse for not appearing is if you have a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer representing you in a misdemeanor case. If you do, the attorney can appear on your behalf and you do not need to appear at all.

If you do not have a Criminal attorney representing you, then you must appear in court on the day that you have been ordered to do so. This is mandatory, you have to appear and is not optional. You cannot appear a day after you have been ordered, but you may have the option to appear before.

Several things will happen when you are charged with a Los Angeles DUI and have to make your first appearance in court. This first appearance will be stated on the citation you receive, and will state the date and time of your appearance, as well as the Courthouse. This appearance is referred to as an Arraignment. Several things will happen on this first hearing.

  1. Reading of rights

At this first hearing, the Judge will read you your rights. You will earn exactly what you are being charged with, and what the highest potential sentence may be. You have a right to know the charges against you, the code section under which they fall and the extent of the possible sentence that can be imposed. In addition, you have a right to be aware of any and all rights that you possess, including the right to an attorney, a right to a jury trial and other important constitutional rights.

A Los Angeles Criminal Defense lawyer can start working on your criminal case well before the first hearing. There is often a lot to do to prepare for a hearing, and this work can start immediately upon having been retained.

Many people will wait until the hearing to hire an attorney. The problem with this is that it gives the attorney very little time to prepare for hearing. An attorney will most certainly want to review the discovery that is being presented in the case. Discovery is any type of exhibits, documents, tapes, visuals that the prosecutor has in their possession that relates to the case. This most often is video surveillance of the arrest, and the police report. Oftentimes it can include information on the breathalyzer.

These are important pieces of information for the attorney to know when they analyze possible defenses or arguments to bring up pertaining to your case. For example, if there is blatant misconduct on the officers behalf, and they have not followed proper protocol, then there are strong chances of getting the evidence dismissed. Proper motions must be filed in a timely manner and must be addressed immediately.

When you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be asked to appear before the Judge in criminal court. This appearance is referred to as the Arraignment. At an arraignment, the Judge will read you your rights and what you have been charged with. The Judge will also go over the maximum penalty allowed by the State of California, for that specific charge.

The prosecutor will also speak to you at the arraignment. He or she will offer you, what is referred to as a Plea Bargain. The plea bargain essentially is an offer of a lesser sentence than the statutory sentence, if you plead guilty that day. Many times people make the mistake of accepting this offer right away. They want the case to be completed, they want to start serving their sentence, paying their fines and doing their community service.

When you have been charged with a criminal offense, it causes you a lot of stress and anxiety. Even being in the courtroom is not a pleasant experience and you want the whole ordeal to be over as soon as possible. Accepting the plea bargain on the very first court date allows for your case to be completed and for you to move on. That is why, many of our clients want to take the offer right off the bat.