With the intensifying of DUI laws over the last few years, staying out of jail can be your primary objective if you are charged with this offense. While many state laws have a mandatory period of time you must serve - if found guilty - there are options available to the judge. These options can be prearranged in a plea agreement.
The challenge for you and your attorney will be to convince the "man behind the bench" that you warrant consideration for such a plea arrangement with reduced jail time as part of your sentence. Here are some factors to consider that will help you determine if a plea agreement is in your best interest.
- Know Your State Laws
Mandatory DUI sentencing guidelines, while more similar across the United States than in previous years still differ from state to state. Knowing the DUI laws in your state can help you develop a stance to present to the courts that may not only keep you out of jail, but possibly have the entire case against you dismissed if you can successfully fulfill certain pretrial requirements. Know the laws and talk them over with your DUI attorney, someone from a aplce like The Gentry Firm.
- The Plea Agreement
Sometimes a plea agreement arranged with your lawyer and the prosecuting attorney, can help reduce to a minimum your jail time, or keep you out of the lockup altogether. Be mindful, that while judges honor most plea arrangements, he or she does not have to follow them.
If you decide to choose this option, you need to be fully aware that the judge may find your situation more compelling than you, or your attorney does. Before you decide to accept a plea agreement, strongly consider these four factors with your lawyer first.
- Previous convictions, or even arrests for driving related charges can have an impact. A judge will especially consider any prior situations where you have even been suspected of driving under the influence.
- Your age is important. Many judges seriously frown on individuals charged with underage drinking on top of being suspected of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
- Whether there were other passengers in your car. You need to be aware that judges exhibit a sense of human nature and can be more rigid when determining the sentencing of someone who chose to jeopardize the life's of others and drove impaired.
- The court, when applying penalties for DUI convictions, always considers property damage from an accident. Whether you caused an accident, were part of one while driving under the influence, or caused other property damage, the judicial system takes that into serious account when considering punishment.
A plea agreement to avoid, or at least reduce the amount of jail time as a result of DUI conviction, may be an option for you if you are facing such. Be sure to consult with your legal counsel and be honest about all the factors that may be considered by the judge before your arrangement is accepted.