When To Plead Guilty, Not Guilty, Or No Contest To DUI Charges
When you are arrested for a DUI, you have a few options. You can choose to plead not guilty or no contest, or you can choose to fight. The right decision will depend on your individual situation. However, because your freedom is at stake, you need to make this decision while consulting with a criminal defense lawyer.
Why You Might Plead Guilty
You might think it makes no sense to plead guilty, but you may receive a few advantages through a plea bargain. By avoiding a trial, you may be able to plea to a lesser charge. However, you should not make this decision without the advice of a criminal defense attorney.
Your lawyer might advise you not to plea guilty because the penalties for a DUI can be very severe. Even if you plead down from a felony DUI to a misdemeanor DUI, this can have a negative impact on your life. With a strong legal team, you might be able to fight and beat your DUI charges so that this incident has no impact on your future.
Why You Might No Contest
If you plead no contest, then you will choose not to fight your DUI but will not admit guilt. You will not have to go through a trial and the judge could technically look at the evidence and decide that you are not guilty. However, the judge is more likely to look at the evidence and decide that you are guilty. Therefore, choosing this option is usually a mistake.
Why You May Fight Your DUI Charges
When you choose to fight your DUI charges, you will have a trial, and your criminal defense attorney will represent you in court. You need to hire an attorney before you choose to plead not guilty because an attorney will help you understand whether this is the right decision. The decision to fight the charges depends on whether the prosecutor has a strong case.
Oftentimes, prosecutors have surprisingly little evidence, and the burden of proof for criminal charges is very high. You may also choose a pretrial settlement after you plead not guilty.
The Pretrial Settlement
If you enter a not guilty plea, then the court will hold a pretrial conference. You will want your attorney to assist you in negotiating for a pretrial settlement as you complete this procedure. Your attorney can argue that you accept responsibility as well.