If a person faces charges for driving under the influence, they may experience pressure to plead guilty to make things easier for themselves. What a person facing charges may not realize is the full consequences of pleading guilty. What are the full consequences of pleading guilty to DUI charges?
The first conviction for a DUI can result in a thousand dollars and up to six months of imprisonment. While there are direct consequences of a conviction, there are other indirect consequences of a guilty plea.
What happens if I plead guilty?
The first thing a client should realize is that by pleading guilty, they waive certain legal rights. A guilty plea means that you would lose your right to remain silent, your right to a jury, and cross-examine any witnesses. Once you plead guilty, you accept your charges’ conviction, and withdrawing a guilty plea becomes extremely difficult.
If you did not get a plea deal in writing stating otherwise, you might still face up to six months in jail and severe fines. You can also lose your license for some time, and be placed on information probation for several years. If you have previous convictions for DUIs on your record, consequences can be considerably worse.
Why should I fight my charges?
It doesn’t matter if you think you are guilty; the prosecution still needs to prove you were driving under the influence. If the police did not collect sufficient evidence of the alleged crime, or if someone mishandled the evidence, the court may not accept it. If the police did not legally perform the arrest, the entire case might be up for dismissal. An experienced criminal attorney can help review your unique situation to determine what options you have to defend your future.
What should I do?
If you are facing DUI charges, talk to an attorney immediately. Prosecutors have a much easier time of convicting others when the defense does not have an attorney. Use your right to remain silent to say nothing without an attorney present, and do not wait to find out what options are right for you.