If you have recently been charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you will be faced with important decisions. How you choose to proceed could have a profound impact on your life and the severity of any sentencing which takes place. Below is a guide to the different options you have when facing a DUI charge.
If you believe you are innocent, or you believe that the evidence against you is very weak and circumstantial, you may wish to opt for a jury trial. A jury is made up of between 12 and 18 people, who are presented with the evidence and asked by the judge to decide the innocence or guilt of a defendant. While a jury trial is the only way you will be cleared of the charges against you, you should not enter into one without the advice of a criminal lawyer. If a jury finds you guilty, it is likely the judge will impose a tougher penalty than if you had pleaded guilty at an early stage.
Reduced or Dropped Charges
If you believe the case against you is weak, but you do not wish to risk being found guilty of DUI at a jury trial, you could ask a criminal lawyer to petition the prosecution to reduce or drop some of the charges against you. For example, you could offer to plead guilty to a lesser offence such as driving with an open beverage container rather than DUI. The benefit for you is that the penalty you face will be reduced, while the prosecution will guarantee a conviction without having to go to court. If you are facing more than one charge, such as DUI and speeding, you could ask for the lesser charge of speeding to be dropped in return for a DUI guilty plea. A reduction in the number of charges will reduce the severity of your sentence.
If you can demonstrate previous good character or extenuating circumstances, your criminal lawyer may be able to enter a plea deal to reduce the level of any penalties you face for your DUI charge. For example, rather than having your licence suspended, you may have to pay a fine or complete community service. However, the conviction will remain on your criminal record.
It is vital that you do not make any decisions about how to proceed with your DUI charge until you have spoken with a criminal lawyer. If you are facing a DUI charge, you should contact a criminal lawyer today. For more information, contact a firm such as Russo Lawyers.Share
24 February 2017
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