If you have been arrested for driving under the influence in California, you may feel pressured to feel guilty. However, pleading guilty to DUI is not something you should do without the advice of an experienced defense attorney. Below, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich explain the risks involved in entering a guilty plea, as well as factors to consider before you decide how to plead.
Risks of Pleading Guilty
Unfortunately, driving while intoxicated is taken seriously in California. If convicted, you may face heavy fines, jail time, and suspension of your driver’s license. When you enter a guilty plea to your DUI offense, you are forfeiting your right to a jury trial. A guilty plea signals to the judge that you are in fact guilty and are willing to take any penalty that the judge deems appropriate. The DUI will go on your permanent criminal record, which may affect future employment and personal outlooks.
As such, it is crucial to consult with an attorney and understand exactly what a guilty plea entails before you enter a plea. Many defendants take guilty pleas without realizing the long-lasting consequences of doing so. However, your lawyer can guide you through the risks and benefits of entering a guilty plea and help you make a decision that’s best for you.
Considering a Plea Bargain
Before pleading guilty, you may want to consider a plea bargain. If you plead guilty right away, you lose the opportunity to negotiate. However, if you plead not guilty, you may be able to challenge the evidence against you and negotiate a deal with the prosecution. A plea bargain is an agreement to enter a guilty plea in exchange for the prosecution reducing your charges to a lesser offense. Even if you are aware that you are guilty of the accusations leveled against you, you may still be able to negotiate a plea deal.
Since prosecutors want to ensure a win, they may be willing to offer a plea bargain if there are any shortcomings in their case. That way, they can make sure the defendant faces at least some of the consequences, even if the penalties are less severe. For example, your attorney may be able to negotiate your DUI down to a dry reckless charge. A dry reckless conviction carries much lesser consequences than a DUI, and you will not face sentencing enhancements as a repeat offender if you are convicted of another DUI later down the line.
Should I Plead Guilty?
In short, you should never plead guilty to a DUI unless your lawyer suggests otherwise. DUI cases can be hard to prove, since even scientific evidence like a breath test can be subject to errors. Without a guilty plea, the prosecution may not have a strong case against you and may be amenable to a plea deal. Additionally, the consequences of pleading guilty may be severe. Therefore, it is often better to hold out for a charge reduction or dismissal. Even if you are convinced that pleading guilty is the only way to go, consult with your attorney before doing anything.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or your loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can help. At Wallin & Klarich, we know the most effective defenses and how to negotiate with prosecutors to get you the best outcome. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys have helped thousands of clients succeed in their DUI cases, and we have the skills and resources to help you avoid hefty fines, jail time, and license suspension.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.