Washington residents who have been charged with driving under the influence have the option of going to trial or accepting a plea bargain. In some cases, taking a plea bargain may be the best course; however, they should speak with their attorney before making a decision.
With a plea deal, a defendant will agree to submit a guilty plea, typically to a charge that is less severe than what they could go to trial for. DUI defendants who plead guilty usually agree to terms that include undergoing an alcohol diversion program or participating in some form of community service.
There are multiple factors that have to be considered before deciding whether a plea bargain should be accepted. How convincing the evidence is against the defendant, the severity of the crime and the chances that the defendant may receive a guilty verdict at a trial all impact the decision. In the criminal court system, plea bargains are encouraged and are viewed as an effective tool for dealing with overburdened criminal court schedules and overly crowded jails.
Defendants who are facing criminal charges may find that the plea bargaining allows them the opportunity to receive a lighter sentence for a less serious charge. It also provides the chance for them to not accrue an excessive number of offenses on their criminal record. For defendants who have hired private legal representation, a plea bargain helps them avoid the costly expenses that come with a long trial.
A criminal law attorney may evaluate the factors of a case for clients who have been charged with offenses related to drunk driving and recommend a legal strategy for addressing the charges. The attorney may advise the clients if any offered plea deal should be considered over opting to challenge the criminal charges in a trial.