Posted on: 29 July 2022
Most people charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) are too stunned to know what to do next. You don't have time to think for long, however, since you could be faced with making some major decisions soon after an arrest. For help in handling these decisions, read on and find out more.
What to Do at the Arraignment
In many cases, you will need to make some decisions on the spot at your arraignment. This hearing takes place before you are released, and several issues are addressed:
Bail: If you are eligible to be released on bail, you can do so by paying the money. If you are not offered bail, you need an attorney right away. Speak to a criminal defense attorney about bail. It's hard to work on your case if you are in jail.
Representation: You will need to let the judge know if you have an attorney or if you need to have one appointed for you.
Your Plea: You will likely be asked to enter a plea. You can plead guilty, but that is not advisable. No contest or nolo contendre is also not a good idea. At this point, criminal defense attorneys almost uniformly advise their clients to plead not guilty at the arraignment. It's a common practice. Later, pleas can be changed. Pleading guilty from the start, however, can give off the wrong signal.
How to Handle a Plea Bargain
Cases by the thousands are resolved using plea bargains. The prosecution favors plea bargains because they result in a guilty plea and are less expensive than a trial. Some defendants like their plea bargain because it might be for a lesser charge than the DUI.
Dealing with a plea bargain can be tricky. You may not understand what could happen if you don't agree to the plea bargain. For instance, it means not only proceeding to trial but taking a chance that the jury will find you guilty and the sentence could be worse.
Many DUI plea bargains are "pled down" to a reckless driving charge. This is almost always better than a DUI charge both in the way it appears on your record and the potential sentencing. Plea deals for first-time offenders can be a good way to get the case over with. However, if your lawyer has examined the evidence against you and predicts that you could win in court, you might want to follow that advice.
Contact a local DUI attorney to learn more.Share