Can I Get a Plea Bargain in My DUI Case?

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If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence (DUI), you may feel hopeless as the evidence against you may seem insurmountable. However, there may be options to resolve your charges without a trial. In some cases, a DUI charge may be lowered or dismissed through a plea bargain. This involves pleading guilty to a reduced offense that carries milder penalties while avoiding the uncertainty of a trial. Please continue reading to learn when DUI cases can be resolved through a plea deal and how a determined Pensacola DUI Defense Lawyer can help you determine the best course of action.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is a deal that is struck between a defendant and a prosecutor where the defendant agrees to give up their right to a jury trial in exchange for the prosecutor agreeing to reduce charges or to lesser penalties. If the defendant and prosecutor agree to resolve the charges through a plea deal, the terms of the agreement must be presented to the court. The contract is not binding unless the judge approves the plea deal. If approved, the defendant will plead guilty or no contest to a reduced charge and will be subject to sentencing for the lesser offense. While this may seem attractive when offered, it’s important to note that by accepting a plea bargain, defendants waive their right to a trial and appeal.

There are numerous advantages and drawbacks to accepting a plea bargain. For many defendants, having some control over the outcome of their case is better than risking an uncertain verdict during a trial. Before accepting a plea bargain, it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced lawyer to understand the potential consequences and determine if this is the best option, given the circumstances of your case.

Are DUI Cases Eligible for Plea Bargains?

In Florida, as long as a defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level is less than .15%, the court may accept a DUI plea bargain for a reduced offense. However, Florida law prohibits certain crimes, such as DUI manslaughter, from being reduced to a lesser charge by a plea agreement.

If this is a defendant’s first offense DUI, it may be possible to reduce the charge to a reckless driving offense with alcohol. This is referred to as a “wet reckless” offense, a second-degree misdemeanor with lesser penalties than a DUI conviction.

If you are facing a DUI charge, it’s essential to understand the legal options available and the potential consequences of each option. At The Law Office of James M. Burns, we are prepared to help you determine whether accepting a plea bargain is the right course of action given the circumstances of your case. Please don’t hesitate to contact our legal team today to learn how we can assist you during these difficult times.