If you are charged with DUI in California, you may be offered a plea bargain. Reaching a plea agreement means that the prosecutor secures a conviction without going to trial, and you face softer penalties than you would have at trial.
So, how do you determine if a plea offer is beneficial to you? There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should agree to a plea bargain in a DUI case.
3 Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Accept a DUI Plea Bargain
When trying to decide if you should accept a plea bargain with your attorney, you need to consider how strong the evidence is and the potential penalties you face if you are convicted of the crime. When weighing your options, consider these three elements:
In DUI cases, a prosecutor may offer to reduce your DUI to a “wet” or “dry” reckless charge. A wet reckless is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and up to two years of probation. However, this punishment is significantly lighter than a DUI conviction, which could put you in jail for up to six months and on probation for up to five years.
If you are charged with a second DUI within 10 years, your wet reckless conviction will be treated as a prior DUI offense, meaning your second offense will be punished more severely. Additionally, your insurance rates will increase significantly if you are convicted of wet reckless or DUI. This may not be the case if you are offered a deal in which you plead guilty to dry reckless.
Blood and breath tests are not always accurate and field sobriety tests can be misleading.
If test results showed your blood-alcohol content level (BAC) to be 0.08% or less, it may be best to fight the charge because your attorney can attack the accuracy of the test. If your were charged with DUI based on field sobriety test results, your attorney can help you determine whether there is a reason to challenge the prosecutor on the evidence.
There are a lot of costs associated with a DUI conviction. You can expect to pay higher insurance premiums, fines and court fees, costs of mandatory alcohol programs, and possibly the cost of installing and renting an ignition lock system in your car. It is estimated that a first-time DUI conviction will cost you between $16,000 and $20,000.
Pleading guilty to a lesser charge could save you a lot of money, depending on the offer from the district attorney.
Your DUI defense attorney can help you determine whether you are being offered a fair deal or if you should continue fighting the charges against you.
Contact the DUI Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Right Away
Accepting or rejecting a plea bargain in a DUI case could be the biggest decision you make. It requires that you carefully consider a number of factors, and for that reason, hiring an experienced DUI attorney to walk you through your options is the best move you can make.
At Wallin & Klarich, we have more than 35 years of experience successfully defending people against DUI charges. We will dedicate our skill and knowledge to providing you with the best possible outcome in your case.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Victorville, West Covina, San Diego and Torrance, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich DUI attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.