DUI - Plea Bargains
A plea bargain is basically an agreement between the defense counsel and the prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to charges in order to gain a lenient sentence and/or in exchange for the prosecutor to reduce the charges or drop some charges altogether.
Whether or not a plea bargain is possible will rest on each specific DUI case, the seriousness of the offense, the strength of evidence against a defendant, the defendants prior criminal record, the state they were convicted in and the judge hearing the case.
Scenario: Mike has been charged with DUI, he has no prior criminal convictions, he did not feel that his driving ability was impaired, there was no accident or injury involved and he was marginally over the legal prescribed limit and thinks he could dispute the evidence of his blood alcohol content. He also passed all field sobriety tests and does not want a DUI on his record.
Mikes defense counsel proposes to the prosecutor that in exchange for a guilty plea from mike, could they reduce the charge to reckless driving. The prosecutor agrees based on these circumstances. Mike avoids a DUI charge but receives a fine and community service for reckless driving.
Mike may has saved money in attorney fee's, he escapes a DUI charge and a pretty harsh sentence if he pleaded not guilty and was found guilty. The judge has freed up time that was to be used in Mike's trial that can now be used for more serious cases and the government saves money.
Although plea bargaining in DUI cases is quite rare and usually discouraged as there is often irrefutable evidence in the terms of high BAC (blood alcohol content) readings which are clearly above the maximum legal prescribed limit, they do happen at times.
An expert DUI lawyer will be able to advise defendants as to the possibility of entering a plea bargain based on each individual DUI case.