December 1, 2022
Many people want to avoid going to court when they’re charged with a crime. After all, it’s expensive, and the outcome is not guaranteed. Many people opt for plea bargains, including those in DUI cases in Colorado.
While a plea bargain is an option, it’s not always the best one. In fact, sometimes a plea bargain may be the worst thing you can do for your DUI case.
What’s important is to understand what a plea bargain is, what it means for your future in relation to this charge and beyond, and when it’s actually a decent option.
What Is a Plea Deal?
A plea deal is a legal negotiation that often allows for both parties involved to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement. The most common plea deal structures used by those with DUI charges against them are:
- Dismissal of one or more charges in exchange for a guilty plea for another charge
- A guilty plea for a lesser charge than the original one filed
- A penalty agreement that results in a shorter license suspension or lower fines in exchange for a guilty plea
A prosecutor is not bound to arrange any sort of plea deal for any reason. In most cases, they simply want to save time and money by avoiding court and keeping their calendars open for more significant cases. That’s why you should never go into a plea negotiation thinking you have the upper hand in the situation because you absolutely do not.
Is a Plea Deal the Best Option?
If offered a plea deal, your attorney can help you decide if it’s actually the right thing for your case. Remember, depending on what is in the plea deal, you may still need to plead guilty to a crime – and that creates a criminal record that can impact the rest of your life. Work with an experienced attorney so they can advise you as to whether or not the deal you’re being offered is one you should take. They can also negotiate on your behalf.
When Does a Plea Deal Happen?
A plea deal can occur right before you are formally charged or following the charges’ filing. It can be offered even after a trial begins – basically any time before a verdict is rendered in the case.
In most cases, however, a plea deal will happen before you put your plea into court.
Are There Advantages to a Plea Deal?
There are definitely advantages to working out a plea deal with the prosecution. It helps to reduce the court’s caseload, for one, and may also help with the overcrowding of prisons if you accept a deal for something like probation instead of jail time.
Plea deals are used to move cases through quickly, which can have its advantages if your attorney is familiar with the system.
Options Aside From a Plea Deal
Your DUI charges can be reduced or even dismissed in other ways besides a plea deal. Your attorney can review your case to see if there is an opportunity to have it dismissed based on the evidence. If the evidence against you was improperly collected, for example, then that could be your ticket to freedom. Just make sure to understand the case against you.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been recognized by countless legal organizations for his exemplary defense work, including Avvo, Best DWI Attorneys, Expertise, Lawyers of Distinction, The National Trial Lawyers, and others. He was also named one of the 10 Best in Client Satisfaction in Colorado by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys for 2021 and is Lead Counsel rated.