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What is a Plea Bargain in a Los Angeles DUI Case?

  • September 4, 2017

    When you are charged with a DUI in Los Angeles, CA, there are a few things that will occur when making your first appearance in court. On the citation that you received during the initial DUI incident, the first appearance will be designated, as well as the date and time of the appearance and the courthouse in which it will take place. The appearance designated on your citation is referred to as the Arraignment. There are several things that will occur during the first hearing.

    1. The Reading of Your Rights

    During the first hearing, the judge will read you your rights, after which he will describe the crime that you have been charged with, as well as what the highest sentence that you may potentially receive at the conclusion of the hearings. It is your right under California state law to know the extent of the charges that have been leveled against you, as well as the code section these charges fall under, and the maximum sentence that may possibly be imposed. It is also your right to have a full understanding of your individual rights, including constitutional staples, such as your right to an attorney, and your right to a trial by jury. Gaining a full understanding of your rights during this step will be very beneficial in keeping you abreast of the processes and all possible outcomes.

    2. Entering a Plea

    In a court of law, you have a right to enter a plea on your behalf. The three options that you have during this period are the right to plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest. While it is commonly believed that entering a plea of not guilty is the proper course of action, in some situations, pleading guilty may be the appropriate decision to make. It is important to consider all of the variables regarding your case, including, the facts, the defense, and any and all possible outcomes of the hearing. Seeking the professional opinion of an attorney or other legal authority may be the best option in order to determine the most effective course of action to achieve the desired result.

    3. Plea Bargain

    The prosecutor will offer the person being charged a plea bargain of their own choosing, giving them an idea of where they stand in the process. Often times, a plea bargain will be offered in an effort to gain a guilty plea from the person being charged in exchange for a lesser charge or sentence. In some cases, a plea bargain can be beneficial to the person being charged, but in many instances, this is not the case, and it is better for the person to issue a plea stating that they are not guilty. This should be analyzed carefully by the attorney chosen, as each case will carry a different set of circumstances. All of the possible facts, arguments, and defenses should be carefully considered at this point. It is always best to take this up with the Los Angeles DUI lawyer that you have chosen, as they are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to properly distinguish the differences between a beneficial plea bargain, as well as a plea bargain that should be refused. Familiarity with the judges, prosecutors, and clerks will also help significantly with this process.

    4. Continuance

    As stated above, you have the right to an attorney, and if one is not available to you at the point of arraignment, you will be allowed a 30-day continuance in order to attain proper representation. If an attorney is desired, the best step to take is to insist upon a continuance so that proper counsel can be attained. This step is imperative to achieving the desired result, as a misstep during this period can have a devastating effect on the outcome of the hearing.

    5. Discovery

    At the time of the arraignment, you will be given a discovery. A discovery is an account of the evidence that the prosecutor will be using against you in the courtroom. The discovery is a paramount factor in determining the best course of action in regards to accepting or refusing a plea bargain, so it is imperative that you review this seriously with your attorney.

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