When you have been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence, you will be given a citation. The citation will state the courthouse and the date upon which you must appear. This first appearance is called an Arraignment. Several things will happen at the Arraignment. Each of these things are very important, and it is highly recommended that you have a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer present so that you have the right advice and support in any of the decisions you make.
- Offered a Plea Bargain
What is a plea bargain? A plea bargain is essentially an offer made by the Prosecution. Sometimes the offer is a reasonable one, and in your best interest. However, on other occasions it is one that you must pass on and move forward to the Pre Trial appearance, which is the next court appearance. Unless you are a legal expert with thirty years of experience, as well as knowledge of the Judges, and courthouse, it is very difficult to determine whether an offer is a good one or not. Let’s consider an example.
Let’s say that Dan hires a DUI Lawyer, and he goes to Court on the Arraignment date. The Prosecutor offers Dan no jail time, 3 years probation, 6 month alcohol education program and 100 hours of community service. Not knowing any better, Dan wants to take it because all he sees is the no jail time. He wants the case done and over with. However, Dan’s experienced lawyer tells him that there are evidentiary flaws in his case, and that he is better off moving towards trial. Dan listen’s to the attorney, and at the next court appearance, the Pre Trial, prosecution offers to reduce the charges of DUI to reckless driving. It is then that Dan’s attorney advises him to plead guilty to reckless driving, successfully removing the DUI charge.
- Entering a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest
How would you know if it is a good idea to enter a plea of not guilty, or whether it is good to enter guilty and be done with the case. Similarly to what is discussed above, a Los Angeles Lawyer’s experience and knowledge is crucial to determining what plea to enter. A plea of guilty cannot be changed, or is difficult to change once entered. Having a lawyer in your corner will help you determine the best way to approach. Let’s consider an example.
Donna is facing a second offense DUI charge. The Judge offers Donna 7 days in county jail, probation and a fine. Donna’s attorney knows that the Judge in the Pre Trial courtroom is very tough on second offense DUIs and will likely sentence Donna to a higher sentence. In light of his knowledge, Donna’s attorney advises her to enter a plea of guilty and accept the charges.
If you are attending your arraignment, have someone on your side that will fight for you and will provide you with the right guidance that you need! Consult with a Los Angeles DUI professional today!