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Can a Plea Bargain Help Me in a DUI Case in California?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Jun 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you have been charged with a DUI, you probably have questions as to what your next steps should be. It is important to speak with a California DUI lawyer as soon as possible, so they can examine the evidence, explain any possible defenses, and guide you through the legal process.

What is a plea bargain?

A plea bargain in a California DUI case is when the defendant pleads in a certain way in a case in exchange for some concession. This could be anything from a reduced charge, to a lesser penalty, or even the dismissal of one case for a guilty plea on another. Plea bargains are often seen where the prosecution asks for a guilty plea to a lesser offense, or perhaps asks that the defendant agrees to the terms of the sentence that allows them to avoid a license suspension.

It is important to remember that it is within the prosecution's discretion to allow a plea deal. Their motivation for pursuing these deals when appropriate is to save court time and money, and clear their calendar.

Depending on the circumstances, plea deals can be mutually beneficial to both parties. That said, if the prosecutor offers a weak plea deal, you are never under any obligation to accept it.

Let Your Lawyer Do the Talking

It is important to note, that you should never admit guilt during the negotiation process. If you did admit to say, drinking a large quantity of alcohol prior to driving, the prosecution could withdraw the plea offer and use that evidence against you.

Once an agreement is reached, both sides need to appear before the judge and present their plan. The judge can accept or reject the deal. If the deal is not accepted the case will proceed to trial. Also refer to our articles: "Can a person with a California reckless driving conviction enter Canada?"; "Plea Bargains in California law"; "Wet reckless v. Dry reckless in California"; and "DUI May Negate Charges of Resisting Arrest."

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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