One of the worst things you might think of happening to you is getting a DUI.
Florida has plenty of people that pay the price for this, with over 32,000 people in the state getting arrested for DUI charges last year.
When you think of a DUI, you may think of automatically losing your license or even going to jail.
But, what if there was a way out of that? What if there was a way for you to have lighter charges against you than you might have expected?
A plea deal would be the best way for you to be able to take that option. This is what you need to know if you want to accept a plea deal.
In a plea deal, one of the key pieces of the negotiation between the prosecutor and the defendant’s lawyer is the reduction of charges. For a DUI, that can potentially mean avoiding jail time, reducing fines, and reducing the time of your license suspension.
When you accept a plea deal, one thing that might happen is that the penalties for your charges get reduced. An example would be that in Florida, you can be fined up to $1,000 for your first DUI.
Your DUI attorney may get a plea deal for you that reduces that fine to the state minimum of $500.
If you are lucky, other plea deals can allow you to have the DUI charge dropped entirely. One example could be that if there is not sufficient evidence to prove that you had a DUI. Such as a breathalyzer test. Then they may negotiate for you to accept a lesser charge that was piled on such as unsafe driving.
These can be minor changes that end up on your record. But allow you to avoid a bigger criminal offense and more severe penalties from something like a DUI.
Number of Offenses
The number of offenses you have in the past will be a big factor in how much leniency you get with a plea deal. For example, it is highly unlikely that you will go to jail for your first offense for a DUI. You would most likely have more room to negotiate a plea deal in that situation.
Whereas if you are on your fourth offense, there are going to be higher minimum penalties for a DUI. Plus, the judge and prosecutor are going to be tougher on you. Because you keep coming back into their courtroom for the same charge.
Another example of this is the license suspension length. For a first offense, you may be able to get your months of suspension down to the minimum. But, on your fourth offense, it jumps up to a permanent license suspension with you not being eligible for hardship reinstatement for five years.
So, do not expect to get as easy of a plea deal if you have more priors. The stronger the evidence and the case are for the prosecutor, the less negotiation room you have for your case.
Judge Can Reject It
When it comes to plea deals, they are generally made between a DUI lawyer and a prosecutor. What that means is even if an agreement is made between those two people, a judge has to sign off on it.
If the judge does not like what they are seeing on paper or feels that your punishment is too lenient. Then they have the power to reject the plea deal. They must declare this before you enter your plea. But nevertheless, that type of decision could impact whether you would want to plea guilty.
Say you get your fourth DUI and there is a negotiation going on between an attorney and the prosecutor over how much jail time you will serve. Those two may agree to give you 90 days in jail, which is just 60 days over the minimum amount required.
However, the maximum amount that you can give in this situation is five years, so a judge in this situation may feel like you are getting off easy by only having to serve 90 days. In that situation, they would reject your plea deal and demand that there be a longer jail sentence on your plea.
One of the best reasons to take a plea deal is to avoid trial. For a DUI, you would have to be strongly confident that you are completely innocent of the charges that are against you.
Not going to trial allows you to avoid the possibility of facing even more severe penalties. And more severe charges on your record. On top of that, it can also save you a lot of money in attorney fees.
If you were to go to trial, you would have to pay your attorney more money for more hours of their time in a courtroom defending you. This is not always necessary. So in the case of a DUI, the majority of the time it is beneficial for you to take the deal to avoid this financial burden.
Hire a Lawyer to Get a Plea Deal
The best thing to have in your back pocket to get a plea deal is an experienced lawyer with DUI cases. Our representation can not only save you time but potentially save you money. As well as, your privilege to drive, and even your freedom.
Are you a loved one looking for representation to try to get a deal for your DUI charge? Contact us today to learn more about what steps to take.
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