Whether it is your first or third, a drunk driving charge can set you up for a lot of uncertainties. If you are formally charged with driving under the influence, you understandably want to do everything in your power to get out of trouble and move on with your life.
Instead of letting the court determine your fate, you might be interested in settling the matter through a plea deal. But is this always a prudent idea?
Understanding how plea deals work
A plea deal is an agreement that the prosecution offers to the defendant in a criminal case. It allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for more lenient punishment. Plea deals are common in DUI cases because they allow defendants to avoid harsher penalties that come with drunk driving convictions. The specifics of your case will determine the kind of plea deal the prosecution will offer. For instance, your DUI charge may be reduced to a wet or dry reckless.
So, should you accept a plea deal?
Importantly, you should never accept a plea deal before exploring all of your defense options. Striking a deal will, however, provide certainty sooner than waiting for a trial to take place.
On the other hand, a plea deal comes with certain drawbacks. One of these is that you will be pleading guilty to a crime. This means that you will end up with a criminal record, which can make it more difficult to find a job or even rent a property. You will also receive some form of punishment for the crime you plead guilty to.
The decision to accept a plea deal when charged with drunk driving is entirely yours to make. Understanding what you are up against as well as your legal options can help you decide if a plea deal is in your best interests.