A plea bargain is an agreement between a criminal defendant and a prosecutor for the defendant to issue a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Nobody can choose to take a plea bargain but the defendant – but if you are facing DUI charges, you should make the decision very carefully. Whether or not you accept a plea bargain should be based on the following factors:
- The severity of what you are being charged with. If you have been charged with a DUI and your BAC was very high – say, .13 – then it is unlikely that you will be able to fight the charges in court. In a situation like this, a plea bargain might be the way to go.
- If there is overwhelming evidence against you and a plea bargain can bring your penalties down, a plea bargain may be in your best interest.
- If you are very likely to receive a guilty verdict in trial but will be able to reduce your penalties by entering a guilty plea, a plea bargain could be a better option.
Often, plea bargains can be used to have your charges reduced to something less severe – in the case of DUI, you may not have to plead guilty to DUI at all, but instead a wet reckless or DWAI, which carry significantly lesser penalties.
If you are thinking of taking a plea bargain, be sure to discuss your case with a DUI defense attorney to weigh all possible options.