Plea Bargains in a California DUI Case
There are many different forms of driving under the influence (DUI) charges a person can face, either based on the context of the crime or the person’s criminal history. Given that some of these cases require arguing in front of a judge and a jury, there is an alternative way of solving such cases: plea bargaining. A plea bargain is a deal offered by the prosecutor in exchange for the defendant to plead guilty. Why would anyone willingly plead guilty? This is because the plea bargain would either reduce the sentencing or even reduce the DUI charge.
There are advantages and disadvantages to plea bargains, like all other aspects of the criminal justice system. When deciding on whether to accept a plea bargain, the defendant should always consult their attorney, since this is a move that requires a great deal of consideration (legal and personal). However, that is not to say that all defendants will receive offers for a plea bargain. The offer will be made by the prosecution, and will depend on their case’s strength and the defendant’s history. In general, though, defendants offered a plea bargain often face less severe penalties or have their DUI reduced to a wet or dry reckless charge.
If offered a plea bargain to reduce a charge down to a wet reckless, the defendant now faces penalties that are not as severe. The defendant is charged with reckless driving, but the “wet” term denotes that there will be a mention of the use of alcohol in their criminal record. Again, while each case is different, on average defendants with a wet reckless will go to a county jail for less time and might not have their license suspended. Another option of a plea bargain is the dry reckless misdemeanor charge, and this one is also a reckless driving conviction, but without a note of alcohol in the system. There are many other possible plea bargains a prosecutor may present to a defendant. However, it is very important that a defendant knows all of their options, rights, and facts on their case before accepting or rejecting a DUI plea bargain.