One of the most common questions that surface when discussing a DUI in California is if the defendant should plead guilty or not. If you’re facing your very first DUI in California, this question will definitely cross your mind among others.
What should I do? Am I going to jail? How much am I going to have to pay for tickets and fees?
Thankfully, trusting a local Los Angeles DUI attorney can help answer these questions and so much more by providing a sense of direction while navigating these tricky legal cases.
Having a professional on your team will not only ease some of the anxiety that DUI drivers may face, but the lawyer and their supportive legal office can provide sound legal advice about DUI’s and how to move forward.
DUI Charges Can Vary Greatly—It’s Best To Have An Attorney Review Your Case First!
DUI penalties in California can vary greatly depending on the number of priors and other details concerning the case.
For instance, if you were charged with a DUI because you were found “sleeping it off” while parked in the car, the charges may be much more lenient compared to a driver that exceeded twice the legal alcohol limit and was still attempting to drive.
This idea can also be applied to DUI drivers that have prior DUI’s on their record, may have been speeding while driving under the influence, or caused a major accident that can lead to severe injuries.
With all of that being said, this article was created with the assumption that the defendant is facing a “standard” first time DUI with no additional details like children in the car, excessive blood alcohol level (BAC), had a valid license, etc.
Moving forward we can discuss the pros and cons of proceeding without a lawyer and what could possibly happen if the defendant does plead guilty under these terms.
Facing DUI Litigation With And Without A Lawyer—Which Is Best for You?
As with any legal matters that anyone may face, it can be downright scary. After all, time could be snatched away from you and your loved ones because of a single bad decision.
Taking the time to find the best DUI lawyer in Los Angeles can actually make all the difference. Not only does a qualified DUI attorney understand the severity of the charges that their clients face, but they take them just as seriously as anyone else involved does.
Attorneys work for you and your family. They show up in court for you, on your behalf, as your agent—even if you can’t make it to a certain court date. When your first court date appears (the DUI arraignment), your skilled DUI defense lawyer will be there and continue to show up throughout the legal process on your behalf.
However, if you choose to attend your appearances without a lawyer, you’ll inevitably waste so much more time in court. Many people do not know this, but lawyers do go first during court dates, so facing charges without them will put you in last place in the queue.
This is because judges assume that lawyers know the rights that are given in court, but without one the judge will require that the defendant read a handout, listen to a speech, and watch a video in some cases to explain the rights they have in court. Not only is this necessary for most people to understand, but it has to be stated clearly in front of everyone.
People without proper representation in court will then be asked if they truly want to represent themselves, apply for a public defender if needed, or ask for more time to hire the right DUI attorney in Los Angeles. Then, you’ll be faced with the big question: do you plead guilty or not guilty in your case?
The Potential Punishments Drivers Face If They Plead Guilty To Drunk Driving
As mentioned above, it’s assumed that the DUI case we’re hypothetically referring to is that of a “standard” first DUI, meaning that there aren’t any excessive details that could negatively affect the case.
The truth is that the range of punishment for a DUI could potentially be the minimum sentence which is:
– 3 years of informal probation
– Requirement to attend a first-time offender alcohol school
– Fines and fees that could total just under $2000
However, if you plead guilty and your case has varying details, these punishments could either increase or decrease depending on the facts. Without an attorney, the litigation system can place a lot of pressure upon a defendant to plead guilty even when they may have a very “defendable” case. After all, judges in California are cracking down on driving laws to keep roads safe.
Having an attorney that is familiar with DUI’s and the litigation system can help to reduce—even negate the charges altogether. At the very minimum, you can expect to have some fees reduced and time saved, making it well worth it to have a DUI lawyer on your side.
A DUI Defense Lawyer Can At Least Explore The Idea Of A DUI Plea Bargain
If the DUI case that you’re facing is more severe, having a legal team behind you is crucial. DUI lawyers are familiar with the driving laws in California and can also explore plea bargains for cases that aren’t favoring the defendant’s desired outcome.
A plea bargain in a DUI case is a negotiated alternative rather than taking a case to jury trial. This means that the driver can avoid facing a jury and discuss sentence reductions and/or charge reductions instead.
In order to receive a sentence reduction, the defendant must plead guilty to the DUI. Then, a series of penalties will be agreed upon that are lesser than the original charges faced.
This saves everyone time and money in the litigation process as well. Charge reductions are similar, as the defendant will still be required to plead guilty.
The big takeaway from this option is having a lawyer to navigate the plea deals is vital so that the defendant doesn’t settle for a DUI charge when the deal isn’t understandably fair.
Need Help With An Arrest? Don’t Hesitate To Give Us Our DUI Law Firm A Call!
If you or a loved one is facing a DUI charge—whether it’s your first DUI or not—relying on a Lost Angeles DUI attorney can be one of the smartest decisions to make regarding your case.
Even if the charges are more complex because the details of the case are severe, it’s vital to you and your loved one’s future to have the correct representation before simply pleading guilty.