You may feel tempted to plead guilty to driving under the influence (DUI) after you are arrested. Pleading guilty may resolve your charges right away and you may feel bad about what happened. However, pleading guilty is often not your best choice.
Why shouldn’t you plead guilty to a DUI in California? Pleading guilty takes away all of your legal options. You may no longer attempt to resolve your charges. Generally, it’s a good idea to speak with a DUI lawyer before you agree to plead guilty. Get more information about handling DUI charges in this article.
Consider the Results of Pleading Guilty to a DUI
You may plead guilty to a DUI at your arraignment hearing. Your arraignment hearing is generally your first court appearance after a DUI arrest. The court will inform you of the charges you are facing at an arraignment hearing. You must then plead:
- No contest
- Not guilty
Pleading guilty effectively ends your case. You admit that you did exactly what law enforcement officers claim. The judge will then hand down a sentence against you. You may face numerous penalties if you plead guilty to a DUI. These penalties include:
- Jail time
- Orders to use an ignition interlock device (IID)
- Time spent in DUI school
Once you plead guilty, the court has the right to impose these penalties on you.
Other Options for Handling a DUI Charge in California
You do not simply have to plead guilty to a DUI charge in the state of California. However, you might receive pressure to enter a guilty plea from police officers and prosecutors. These individuals are primarily concerned with securing a conviction. They are not worried about your best interests. They are unlikely to mention your other options to resolve a DUI charge.
A DUI lawyer can stand in your corner and help you with these charges. A lawyer could take steps to help you:
- Get your charges dismissed
- Have your charges reduced to an acceptable level
- Defend yourself in court
The court may dismiss your charges if there is not much evidence against you. A lawyer may even work to block evidence against you to increase the odds of getting your charges dismissed. You face no legal penalties if your DUI is dismissed. Discuss your options to handle a DUI charge by calling (310) 896-2723.
Plea Bargains and DUI Charges in California
Many DUI charges in California end with a plea bargain. Technically, you must plead guilty when you accept a plea bargain. However, you are not pleading guilty to the initial charges you faced. A lawyer can work with prosecutors to bring you a plea bargain.
Plea bargains often offer you reduced penalties after a DUI. For example, a lawyer may secure you a plea bargain that includes “reckless driving” charges. Reckless driving is considered less serious than a DUI in California.
You should not accept a plea bargain without allowing a lawyer to look it over. Some of these charges are not in your best interests. Some plea bargain deals are even “priorable.” This means that they may count against you if you are charged with another DUI later.
Build a Defense for Your DUI Charges
You may also build a legal defense for DUI charges after you are arrested. Your lawyer may defend you in court. A lawyer may develop your defense by working to show that:
- You were not impaired at the time of your arrest.
- You were stopped by a police officer without due cause.
- Your blood alcohol content (BAC) tests were not administered properly.
A lawyer may also work to weaken the prosecution’s case. This could involve taking steps to block evidence against you. Your lawyer may work to bring you a not-guilty verdict. This would keep a DUI off of your record and help you avoid legal penalties.
However, you cannot work to resolve your charges in court if you pled guilty to your DUI charge. Make sure that you speak to a lawyer about your legal options after a DUI arrest now.
Talk to a Lawyer About Why You Shouldn’t Plead Guilty to a DUI
You may consider pleading guilty to a DUI in California. However, there are a number of reasons for you to avoid this choice. You may want to work with a DUI lawyer instead. The team at the Simmrin Law Group can help get your charges reduced or even dismissed. We can also support you in court after a DUI arrest. Find out more by contacting us to get a free consultation.
You can reach us if you call (310) 896-2723. We also provide an online contact form for clients in your situation.