Being arrested for DUI in Dayton can be frightening. If you have never been arrested, you might not know what to do or what to expect. Try to remember to remain calm and ask for a DUI lawyer. Do not answer questions or give a statement to the police without your lawyer present.

Most DUI cases in Dayton are settled through plea bargains without going to trial. Only a very small percentage of drunk driving cases end up in court.

However, you should not negotiate a plea deal directly with the prosecutor. It is best to allow an experienced DUI defense lawyer to handle your case. If you are pleading guilty, you need a lawyer to provide guidance and legal advice. 

Prosecutors Want One Thing – A Conviction 

Prosecutors want convictions and guilty verdicts. Therefore, the prosecutor assigned to your drunk driving case will not tell you if you have one or more valid DUI defenses. Likewise, the prosecutor will not tell you if its case is weak or whether you might be found not guilty of the DUI charges

Instead, the prosecutor will try to convince you that you could receive severe penalties for a DUI conviction if you go to trial. The goal is to get you to agree to a plea deal with harsher penalties than you deserve. 

When an experienced criminal defense lawyer represents you, the prosecutor knows that he cannot play these games. Your lawyer understands the law and the strength of the case against you. Therefore, the prosecutor may be more willing to agree to a reasonable plea deal for your DUI charges.

What is a Plea Deal?

A plea deal or plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the prosecution to resolve criminal charges without going to trial. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to receive a reduced sentence. A plea deal may be appropriate if you are guilty of the charges and want to avoid a trial or if the state’s evidence against you is overwhelming. 

It is important to remember that the judge decides what punishment you receive for a guilty plea. In many cases, the judge accepts the recommendations of the prosecution for sentencing. However, if you get the wrong judge on the wrong day, your sentence could be more severe. 

Don’t rush into a plea agreement without consulting a lawyer. Some DUI cases may need to go to trial. If the state does not have enough evidence to convict you for drunk driving charges, your best option may be to fight the matter in court.

You and your DUI defense lawyer need to discuss the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal and going to trial. Your case could be one of the few cases that a jury should hear.

What is a No-Contest Plea?

Your attorney may advise you to plead no-contest instead of pleading guilty. Most plea deals require the defendant to plead guilty. However, it could be in your best interest to enter a no-contest plea if your DUI charges involve a motor vehicle accident. 

When you plead guilty to DUI charges, the judge asks you questions before accepting the plea. The purpose of the questions is to put information on record establishing that you are pleading guilty of your own free will and understand what you are doing. The judge also wants to ensure you know of your right to a trial if you want one.

On the other hand, when you plead no-contest, you are not stating that you are guilty of DUI. You are neither denying nor admitting to committing the crime. Instead, you are stating to the court that you will not offer a defense to the DUI charges; you are willing to accept the consequences just as if you had pleaded guilty.

The advantage of pleading no-contest is that you are not admitting fault. If you caused a DUI accident, the victims might sue you for damages for a DUI crash. Therefore, you do not want to admit fault in court. If you do, your statements could be used in a personal injury trial to prove that you caused the car accident. Pleading no-contest might be the better option. 

As with the other aspects of your criminal defense, your lawyer can advise you of the potential consequences and what is in your best interest.

To learn more, call our Dayton criminal defense law firm at (937) 531-0435 or visit our contact us page to send us an email.