If an individual is charged with driving under the influence, there are many ways to deal with the case. You can either plead guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, or you can sue the charge to court. There are many factors to consider when making this decision, and it is important to understand the consequences of each option before deciding what to do.
What Is The Meaning Of Pleading Guilty Or No Contest To A DUI Charge?
If an individual decides to plead guilty, admits the crime and accepts the penalties without any initiative to prove his innocence. It is an instant process; it means that the individual will have a DUI criminal record. The individual will have no rights to an appeal, and the court will likely order the same penalties that would have been given had the individual been convicted after a trial.
A no contest plea is an alternative to pleading guilty, and it has the same legal effect as a guilty plea. The advantage of pleading no contest is that the individual will not have a criminal record if the charges are dismissed. It will mean that the individual is admitting that the prosecutor has enough evidence to convict him, but he is not pleading guilty and is not admitting his guilt.
The judge will review the presented evidence first before making any decisions, and you will be awarded penalties and even be sentenced accordingly to the severity of the crime.
If you are facing DUI charges, you should consult an experienced Philadelphia DUI Lawyer to discuss your concerns. An attorney will stand by your side if you or your loved ones have any DUI charges against you.
Find Out Your Options Before You Plead To A Driving Under Influence Charge
The penalties for being convicted of driving while intoxicated are severe. As we mentioned above, there are only two options you have: one is a plea bargain for a DUI, and the other is a charge for a DUI to trial.
According to the NHTSA, every year, numerous people face such crashes, suffer injuries, and face severe circumstances, including death. It is important for all of us to know the all-important details related to such cases.
- DUI Plea Bargain
When the evidence against the defendant is strong in most drunk driving cases, pleading for a bargain to minimize the penalties is a good decision. Some states allow the defendants to plea bargain for minor criminal charges like reckless driving.
Many states also have programs for eligible defenders, like first-offended programs, to have their DUI charge dismissed or reduced to a lesser offense. But, the requirements for such programs are very strict, and not all defendants are eligible for them. You will have to consult an attorney in your state to see if you qualify for such a program.
- Taking a DUI Charge to Trial
Going to trial on a driving under the influence charge is more complex than a plea bargain. But if you have strong evidence to defend yourself, it might be worth fighting the DUI charge. One more thing you need to keep in mind, if you couldn’t prove your innocence, you might end up with harsh penalties and even imprisonment. Before deciding to go with a DUI charge to trial, make sure you have put all of your resources to discuss with an experienced lawyer who is proficient in these types of cases.
- Pleading to DUI charge
If you plan to plead a driving under the influence charge, you should know about the process and the outcomes. If you plead guilty or no contest, you will be required to appear in court for a sentencing hearing, at which time the judge will decide what sentence to impose. By pleading guilty, you would be giving up your right to a trial and the potential to prove your innocence. Pleading guilty will result in a DUI conviction on your criminal record.
- Outcomes of DUI Convictions
The outcomes of a DUI conviction differ from state to state, but in general, the penalties for a first-time DUI offense are a fine, probation, mandatory alcohol education classes, and a driver’s license suspension. In some states, a first-time DUI offender may also be required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle.
A second DUI offense usually results in harsher penalties, including a longer driver’s license suspension, mandatory jail time, and a higher fine. In some states, a third DUI offense is considered a felony.
If you are convicted of a felony DUI, you may face up to 5 years in prison. When deciding whether to plead guilty or no contest to a DUI charge, you should consider the possible outcomes and penalties of a conviction. No one wants to face harsh penalties or even imprisonment, but sometimes it is the best option to avoid a more serious charge.
If the charge involves certain circumstances such as bodily injuries, deaths, or prior DUI convictions, the current consequences of the sentence will be more severe.