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Is It a Good Idea to Accept the Standard Plea Bargain at a Los Angeles DUI Arraignment?

  • September 1, 2017

    Being arrested on suspicion of a DUI can be incredibly stressful, and it is essential that you know exactly what you should and shouldn’t do in order to give yourself the best chance of either beating the charge or receiving a more lenient sentence. This is especially important when it comes to the arraignment as there is a high chance that the prosecution will offer you a plea bargain, which basically means that you will agree to plead guilty to the DUI charge in exchange for a lesser sentence. Although there are some situations where it may be beneficial to accept this standard plea bargain offer, you should never do so without first discussing your case with an experienced Los Angeles DUI attorney.

    Arraignments and Plea Bargaining
    When you’re arrested on suspicion of DUI, you will first be required to make an initial court appearance. Known as an arraignment, this initial appearance is where a judge will read you your rights and notify you of the charges being brought against you. In addition, the judge will also tell you the maximum penalties allowed under California law for your specific DUI offense.

    Unfortunately, many people tend to panic when they hear about the maximum penalties they could potentially be facing, and this is precisely why so many people end up taking the standard plea bargain deal being offered by the prosecution. Most drivers believe, and rightly so, that accepting the plea deal will allow them to avoid these maximum penalties. Although this is definitely true, it is also true that the maximum penalties are rarely applied and usually only in more extreme cases.

    It is in the prosecution’s best interest to get you to immediately accept a plea bargain. By accepting the plea bargain and agreeing to plead guilty, you ensure that the prosecution doesn’t have to waste their time and effort taking the case to trial. The problem is that by accepting the plea bargain, you also lose your ability to fight against the charges in court. Many DUI charges end up being reduced or dismissed altogether, but by accepting the plea bargain during the arraignment, you automatically give up your right to defend yourself in court and thus eliminate the chances of having your case dismissed.

    The Benefits and Drawbacks to Accepting the Initial Plea Bargain
    If you have not yet spoken with a lawyer following your arrest, you might be tempted to accept the plea bargain in exchange for a receiving a lesser sentence. Most people who are arrested for DUI will want to get the case over with as quickly as possible. This is something that the prosecution understands all too well, and they will use your desire for a quick resolution to offer you what might seem to you to at the time to be a good deal.

    However, the only way to know whether or not the deal being offered to you is a good one or not is to speak with an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer. Even if the deal might sound good, the fact is that it is impossible for the average person to judge the fairness of a plea bargain. In some cases, accepting the plea bargain might allow you to get a better deal than you would be likely to get if the case goes to court. Nonetheless, it is imperative that you speak with a skilled DUI lawyer and have them examine the evidence against you before accepting any deal or admitting guilt.

    Just because you accept the plea bargain doesn’t mean that your case is over. Consider the fact that, as part of the plea bargain, you may be sentenced to three years of probation and also be required to attend alcohol rehabilitation and education courses. The fact that you won’t have to serve any jail time may make this seem like a good deal at the time, but the truth is that your plea bargain will still affect your life for years to come. On the other hand, an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate you a better plea bargain where you’ll only have to plead guilty to reckless driving instead of DUI. Similarly, your lawyer could potentially get the charges dismissed or convince the judge to be more lenient. All of these situations could potentially see you face much lower consequences than you would have if you accepted the original plea bargain.

    Although there are definitely situations where accepting this initial plea bargain can be beneficial, you definitely shouldn’t rely on your own judgement to determine whether or not this is the case. By examining the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence against you, a skilled DUI attorney may be able to help you beat the charges or get you a much better deal. For this reason, it is essential that you don’t agree to anything before speaking with an attorney.

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