Articles Posted in Plea Bargaining

When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you are not yet convicted. The prosecutor on your case has to prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be convicted and sentenced for your case.

Your first court appearance is called an Arraignment. At the arraignment the Judge will inform you of your Constitutional rights and you will be given a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an offer a prosecutor will make to a defendant. It usually involves a lesser charge or penalty, and the offer is only on the table for the arraignment. If you plead guilty and accept the offer, your case will be concluded and you will not have a chance to go to trial.

When you decide to plead guilty, you will be given a Tahl waiver to initial and sign. The Tahl waiver is a very important document and it is highly recommended that you thoroughly review and understand the document before you sign it. If you have a Los Angeles DUI lawyer, it is extremely important that you take the time to sit and review the document with your attorney before you sign and initial it.

When someone has been charged with a DUI, they have to make the decision of whether they want an attorney to represent them in the case. A DUI is a serious charge, and one that can affect your career, education and other goals. Hiring an attorney is often a good idea so that you know your options, available defenses and are able to argue your case efficiently and strongly with the help of a knowledgeable legal professional.

Once the decision is made to hire someone, how do you know who the best attorney is? Chances are you received a lot of mailers and flyers once you were arrested. This is because there are many companies that provide your arrest record information to law firms. Once a person has been arrested, the law firms are notified and they send out their letters to potential clients. Just because these attorneys are readily searching, does not mean they are the best attorney for the job.

One of the biggest concern when looking for an attorney should be the attorney’s experience. The criminal justice system is based on a lot of negotiations and settlement offers. Contrary to popular belief, very few cases go to trial. The majority of cases get settled prior to trial once the person charged feels that a good offer is made. When the attorney has experience they are not only familiar with the prosecutors, Judges and staff, they can assess whether the deal being offered is a good one, or one that should be turned down.

Many of our clients make the mistake of thinking that because they meet the elements of a DUI that they will be found guilty and do not need to expend the money on a Los Angeles DUI Specialist. The first mistake people make is thinking that because they were drinking and have a higher Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) they will surely be found guilty.

The second is that they plead guilty at their first Court appearance, known as the Arraignment. They are then sentenced and proceed to serve their sentence which will usually involve a fine, license suspension and jail time if it is a second or severe offense.

We advise all of our clients and potential clients that this is a bad idea without consulting with an attorney. Regardless of whether you have a high BAC, or even one over .08, you do not know the requisite elements of a DUI case.

Plea bargaining is simply a negotiation between your attorney and the prosecutor to dismiss or reduce the charges that may be pending against you. These type of negotiations can also be very effective at obtaining dismissals, reductions in penalties like eliminating jail time, in exchange for community service. For example, in a recent DUI case although the prosecutor was demanding jail time, we were able to persuade the Judge to allow our client to be placed on electronic monitoring in lieu of serving time in a jail cell.

In addition, when there are aggravating circumstances presence, the terms that the prosecutor, Judge or legislature dictates, can still be modified by the negotiation and skill of an experienced DUI lawyer to trade-off harsh consequences.

Many new clients, and those potential clients seeking advice on how our firm can assist them view DUI penalties as if they were a specific, set in stone formula, with no room for alteration or modification. People not familiar with this area of the law are very surprised to find out that every legal offense from a DUI case to a manslaughter offense are quoted in ranges, rather than specific finite penalties.

Many of our clients believe that because they have refused to take a Blood Alcohol Test during the time of their DUI arrest, there will not be enough evidence to find them guilty of a DUI. This, however, is not true. A person may be found guilty of a DUI based on the arresting officer’s observations and any statements made by the driver.

When a person has been charged with a criminal offense, they have the option to accept a plea bargain made by the prosecutor. A plea bargain is an offer for the person being tried to plead guilty for a charge and in exchange receive a lower penalty. If a plea bargain is taken, the person charged will plead guilty to a charge before the criminal Judge and will be given a lowered sentence. If the charged person does not accept the plea bargain, further negotiations may be made. If there is no agreement, the case proceeds to trial.

Lets say David has been charged with a DUI where he has refused to take any BACstest. Officer’s observed him as slurring, smelling of alcohol and weaving in and out of lanes. David believe that because he refused to take the BAC they will have no proof as to his intoxication and the case will be dismissed. Prosecutors offer David a plea bargain. They explain to him that if he pleads to a misdemeanor DUI, they will drop any enhanced penalties because of the refusal, and give him the lower end of the legislative penalty for Driving while intoxicated in California. If David takes the offer, he will go before a Criminal Judge and plead guilty to a DUI, be sentenced and his case is closed. However, if David decided he absolutely believes he is innocent, or that there is not enough evidence to find him guilty, he will proceed to trial.

Plea Bargaining is a useful tool in many different criminal cases. A plea bargain is essentially an offer made by prosecution. If you agree to plead guilty prosecution will agree to give you a lesser charge and consequently a lesser penalty.

In drug possession cases, plea bargaining can have beneficial results and with the help of an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney may be dismissed. An attorney will prepare a powerful argument convincing the Judge to allow you to enroll in a Drug Diversion Program. Many drug possession cases allow for rehabilitation and education classes that, if completed, lead to a dismissal of your case.sThis leaves your permanent record clean, and you would not be required to report it when asked.

For example, if a first time offender has been charged with a sizeable quantity of cocaine they could face possibly felony charges. However, a knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney would prepare a defense presenting the client in a positive light. The Judge would consider the strong argument presented in court and may grant the option to enroll in a Drug Diversion program, or in the very least reduce the charges. If a Drug Diversion program is completed, the charges will be dismissed. This is not only greatly beneficial to your future, but also helps you with future employment of educational institutions.

A majority of criminal cases do not go to trial, instead they are resolved through a process called plea bargaining. A plea bargain is an offer made by prosecution at your first appearance in court, also known as your arraignment. Prosecution will ask you to plead guilty to a lesser charge. They will get the case completed at the very first appearance, and you will a reduced charge. This benefits prosecution and the court system by quickly resolving cases and keeping the costs low by avoiding trial. Whether this is a good idea for the person being charged depends on the specific facts of the case.

At your arraignment, you are asked to make a plea. This plea can be guilty, not guilty or no contest. When pleading no contest, you are not stating that you are guilty, but that you do not wish to argue the charge. You do not have the option to plead not guilty, or no contest when accepting a plea bargain.sYou must plead guilty in order to receive a lower sentence. The potential consequence of the lesser charge will depend on the case.

When making a plea bargain, you have to consider many things. On the surface it may seem appealing; getting a lesser charge and as a result a lesser sentence for just having to plead guilty. However, there is more to it than that. A plea of guilty will remain on your record. Additionally, it leave no room for negotiation in front of the Judge. An experienced San Diego Criminal Defense attorney can reduce your charge considerably more than prosecution’s plea bargain.

sLos Angeles DUI Attorneys are not created equally. There are vast differences in and attorneys skill, expertise, and years of experience. When you have been arrested for a drunk driving case in Los Angeles, it is essential to have the protection and representation of a highly experience DUI Attorney.

Not only do attorneys have vastly different levels of skill, there is also a wide range of legal fees being charged. In general, the least expensive lawyers, typically have the least experience. When your freedom is on the line, going for representation by an attorney with little experience is never a good idea.s

It is attorneys experience that makes the big differencesbetween and an excellent result and a so so result.sThat being said, paying a very high attorneys fee does not guarantee a dismissal either.sCarefully screening an attorney, and asking important questions, allows a potential client to develop a fuller understanding of the attorneys real level of experience in a courtroom, handling cases similar to yours.

Knowing when to accept a plea bargain is a very critical decision which requires analyzing objectively the prosecutors case, including any and all evidence they have, and any witnesses.

There are three possible outcomes of a DUI prosecution. The rarest is after the prosecutor in a courtroom finds an obvious error or other critical weakness in their case, theydecide to dismiss all charges. Keep in mind that prior to filing charges, a prosecutor office reviewed the entire contents of the police report and determined that there was sufficient evidence in their opinion to convict the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.

The second is a more common scenario, where based on the merits of the case, and after a careful evaluation of both positive and negative evidence, the defense lawyer and prosecutor agree upon a reduced charge or terms of a case settlement. This process is called plea-bargaining.

In California the courts tend to prefer drug treatment over a jail sentence for those charged with drug offenses. The hope of the court is to rehabilitate the offender rather than punish them by a sentence which could increase the probability of a second offense. Depending on the specific facts of your case an experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney will be able to tell you if you qualify for one of a few alternative sentences.

Many drug offenders qualify for Proposition 36. Proposition 36, California’s Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, allows those that have simple drug possession charges and are first or second time offenders to complete a substance abuse program instead of serving jail time. The programs are quite extensive and may include up to one year of education classes, therapy, inpatient or outpatient care and up to six months of aftercare.

Another alternative that may be available is referred to as a Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ).sWhen granted a DEJ, the defendant pleads guilty, but is not convicted. The case is put on hold for 18 months and set aside. The defendant must then complete six months of a substance abuse program as well as avoid any additional convictions or charges. After 18 months are over, and the six months of a substance abuse program have successfully been completed, the charge is wiped clean.s

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