Plea bargains are an option for some in DUI cases

For those facing serious charges involving allegations of driving while drunk, understanding the legal process and the options for resolving a particular case is an important first step towards planning a path forward.

One option that will likely be discussed over the course of a consultation regarding defense strategies is the possibility of a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor assigned to the case and the defendant on a possible disposition of the case prior to trial. For the prosecutor, the general idea is that it is more efficient to handle the case this way and avoid the time and expense of a trial. For the defendant, the offer may be enticing if it means a lesser charge or a reduced sentencing recommendation.

Prosecutors are not required to offer an option to plea, as it depends on the facts of the specific case. Likewise, it may not be in the defendant’s best interests to accept such a deal if a strong defense to the charges exists. Factors to be considered on both sides include the available evidence, the seriousness of the alleged crime, and whether a guilty verdict is likely at trial.

In cases of an alleged DUI, it may be possible to avoid or reduce the jail time that would come with a guilty verdict, or an option to enter an alcohol diversion program or perform community service in lieu of a serious criminal conviction that would go on one’s permanent record.

Whether a plea bargain is a good option in a particular case depends very much on the facts. For some, a strong defense against all charges may be warranted, even if it means going to trial. Working with an attorney experienced in defending against drunk driving charges can help those facing severe consequences understand their options as they face their day in court.