When you are arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in the state of California, chances are you will be arrested and taken into custody. In addition, you will be charged under the California Vehicle Code §§ 23152 and 23153. You will also be given a court date on which you must appear before a Criminal Judge in a courthouse close to your arrest.
This court date is called the Arraignment. At the Arraignment, three things will happen.
1. The Judge will explain the charges against you and the maximum potential sentences that you may receive
2. The Judge will ask you to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest
3. The Judge or the District Attorney will give you a “standard offer”
A standard offer is the offer that is given to ALL persons that are in your same situation. The same charges against them, and the same type of offense, and the same numbered offense.
For example, all persons who have been charged with a first time misdemeanor DUI will receive the same standard offer. All persons who have been charged with first time petty theft will be given the same standard offer.
The problem with this is that not all people are the same, and not all offenses are the same. Some will have a blood alcohol level of .09, and others will have a blood alcohol level of .12.sWhat if this is the first time you have ever been charged with anything, and another person who has previous charges against them, just not a DUI are being given the same offer as you? That hardly seems fair.
At the arraignment, the prosecutor or the Judge have not even looked at your file. They don’t know the facts of your case, they do not know who you are as a person. In fact, they rarely have even heard of you prior to your appearance before the Judge. To them, you are just another case number, another DUI, and another case they must close quickly.
To close the case, they will give you the standard offer in hopes that you will accept it, finish your case, and move on. This is why it is extremely important tosconsult with a Los Angeles DUI Lawyer. A Lawyer will review the standard offer and determine whether the facts of your case favor accepting that offer, or if you have a strong defense or argument. If you have a strong defense or argument you should decline the standard offer and set for pre-trial. At a pre-trial the prosecutor will have reviewed the facts of your case. Your attorney will have brought to the Prosecutor’s attention the type of person you are through letters from your community. The attorney will also demonstrate that you have taken proactive steps to ensure that such an arrest never happens again and they will highlight your criminal history.
The standard offer is rarely the best offer. It is up to you to take the steps in consulting with a legal professional to determine if the standard offer is something you should consider.