Entering a guilty plea is not something to be taken lightly. Even if you’re guilty of the charges against you, you’re 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.
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 the judge sees fit. A conviction will be entered against you, which will go on your permanent criminal record.
It is therefore important that you understand every aspect of entering a guilty plea before you enter it. Many defendants enter a guilty plea without realizing the lifelong effects that such a plea can have.
This is why it is critical 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.
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 relief you might never have known was 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 consulting with a lawyer first.
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, as well as review any potential “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. Also typical is that 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 what the prosecution is accusing you of?
Most plea bargains have expiration dates. This means that the longer a case drags on, the less likely the 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 offer before the case goes to trial in the prosecution’s desperate bid not to go to trial. But everyone deserves his or her day in court, and you shouldn’t forfeit your right to a trial unless you’re sure you won’t win. For this reason, a plea bargain is another decision in your case that you don’t want to be making without a lawyer present.
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.
Don’t 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 of the charges against you. The problem with that is there might be hidden charges that you don’t realize you’re admitting to – and that you might not even be guilty of!
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 the form to the right, or call us at (310) 997-4688 to speak with one of our experienced criminal defense lawyers. You will receive a free consultation with no obligation to retain.
Don’t go to jail if you otherwise wouldn’t have to. Call us today!