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.
A plea bargain is a stipulation or agreement between the parties to settle the pending criminal charges. In most courts this put in writing, and presented to the judge to officially settle the case by reading the terms of the agreement into the court record.
The next way to resolve a criminal case, if a plea bargain has not been reached, is by the clients exercising their constitutional right to a court or jury trial. At a trial, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the defendants guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If found guilty, any previous offer or agreement to settle the case will be null and void. The judge at that point, makes the decision after arguments by both parties to pronounce a sentence based upon the facts of the case, and the legal sentencing guidelines for that charge.
Anyone facing a DUI charge, is faced with this dilemma. An experienced attorney can assist his clients to evaluating the merits of the charges against them, and weigh the pros and cons of each of these important decisions. The number one obligation of an attorney representing clients on DUI charges is to protect the client.
For over 30 years, our firm has been a valuable resource to thousands of clients facing DUI charges, and these important decisions as to whether or not to accept a plea bargain. Some plea bargains are exceptionally favorable, and recommended. Other plea bargains offered by the prosecutor in a particular case, are not.
The unique facts and circumstances of each client’s case must be looked at. Having a trusted advisor skilled in these types of matters can help you evaluate and decide what’s in your best interest. Protecting your legal rights, good record and freedom is always our firm’s number one concern.