Entering a guilty plea is not something to be taken lightly. Even if you’re guilty of the charges against you, you are going to want an experienced Los Angeles DUI lawyer by your side if you’ve been charged with a DUI in the state of California.
A DUI conviction can follow you for years and profoundly affect your life. Facing these charges without legal representation will likely result in the harshest penalties being handed down in your case. A DUI lawyer from the Simmrin Law Group can help minimize the impact of these charges.
The Risks Involved With Pleading Guilty
When you plead guilty to a DUI charge, you are waiving your right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Instead, you are telling the judge that yes, you are guilty, and you will accept whatever punishment they see fit. A conviction will be entered against you, which will go on your permanent criminal record.
It is therefore critical that you understand every aspect of entering a guilty plea before doing so. Many defendants enter a guilty plea without realizing the lifelong effects that such a plea can have. This is why it is crucial that you speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible before entering a plea.
Ideally, if you decide to retain a lawyer, you’ll want to do so before your arraignment. A lawyer can advise you on what you’re risking and what you’re giving away by pleading guilty. Going in blind when pleading guilty is the worst thing you can possibly do.
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Even if you know you are guilty of the charges against you, you may still be able to enter into a plea bargain. A plea bargain is a negotiation whereby you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecution dropping the most severe charge against you.
This is why it is so important to know what you’re doing before you enter a guilty plea. When you plead guilty, you may be closing yourself off to potential relief that you don’t even realize is available. These are the things a lawyer may be able to make you aware of ahead of time, which is why it is so important to not enter a plea without first consulting with a lawyer.
Negotiating for a Better Deal
Pleading guilty effectively closes your case. Pleading not guilty, on the other hand, keeps your case open and allows you to challenge the evidence against you. It also gives you the potential to negotiate “deals” the prosecution may offer you.
This is where plea bargains come in. The prosecution can offer you a plea bargain before you even enter your plea. Typically, a plea bargain is offered during your arraignment. Usually, the prosecution will try to convince you that you will never be offered as good of a deal as the one you’re being offered at the beginning of your case.
But why take any deal if you’re innocent of the crime for which the prosecution has accused you? Unfortunately, even if you are not guilty, the odds may be stacked against you. Most plea bargains have expiration dates. This means that the longer a case drags on, the less likely the plea bargain offered at the beginning of the case will still be available.
The offer may be withdrawn altogether, or its terms will become less appealing as the case drags on. You may be presented with one final deal before the case goes to trial in the prosecution’s desperate bid not to go to trial. But everyone deserves their day in court, and you shouldn’t forfeit your right to a trial lightly unless you’re sure you won’t win.
Alternate Charges in a Plea Bargain
Prosecutors want to make sure they get the win. If there are any holes in their case that could potentially result in a defendant winning in court, they are likely to offer a plea bargain to ensure they get a guilty plea and that the defendant faces some consequences.
Three of the most common charges that your lawyer is likely to be able to negotiate down to in a plea bargain for a DUI charge are:
- Wet reckless
- Dry reckless
- Exhibition of speed
A wet reckless charge is likely what the prosecution will be pushing for in a plea bargain agreement. The consequences are generally the same as with a dry reckless charge. However, if you are convicted of another DUI within ten years of this charge, a wet reckless will count as a prior DUI conviction when considering penalties for the new charge.
Penalties for DUI convictions greatly increase when the defendant has prior DUI convictions on their record. Pleading guilty to wet reckless won’t count as a DUI against you for the current offense. Because of this, if you feel confident that you will not face a DUI charge again in the future, this deal can be perfect for your situation.
However, on your side, your attorney will likely be pushing for an agreement of dry reckless, or in some cases, an exhibition of speed. This way, you won’t have to worry about the charge costing you, beyond the current consequences that you face.
You have the right to represent yourself in a court of law when fighting the charges against you. However, it is important to be aware of the fact that you will have a lot of legal arguments thrown at you that you will have to know how to effectively counter. And if you lose at trial, you risk any or all of the following consequences:
- Jail time
- Suspension or revocation of your license
- Substantial fines
- Mandatory driving school
- Payout of damages for injuries and property damage
Considering the risks involved, you may find your mind will be put much more at ease if you speak with a lawyer about the best way to proceed with your case.
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Do Not Take a Plea Without a Lawyer: Call Us Now!
When you plead guilty, you are forfeiting your right to a trial and telling the court you are undeniably guilty of all the charges against you. The problem with that is there might be hidden charges that you. You may end up pleading guilty to these additional charges even if you are innocent of these aspects of your case.
Our experienced criminal defense team can review your case to ensure you are not about to make a mistake that will haunt you for the rest of your life. Fill out our online contact form or give us a call to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. Don’t go to jail if you otherwise wouldn’t have to. Call us to learn more about your options.