Frequently when a person is arrested, he or she is charged with multiple criminal offenses. One of the more common dual charges in California is a DUI charge combined with a hit-and-run charge. If you face combined charges, here’s what will happen. At your first hearing – your arraignment – the court will inform you of the maximum sentence you face, the prosecutor will offer you a plea bargain, and the court will ask you to enter a plea.

The plea bargain is important. The Prosecutor may offer to drop one of the charges, but only if you accept a “Harvey Waiver.” Don’t agree to something you don’t fully understand. Before even going to court, obtain the legal help you need from an experienced California DUI defense attorney. If you accept a Harvey Waiver, you may be giving up rights and acting against your best interests.

If you agree to a Harvey Waiver, you allow the court to sentence you for a charge that’s been dismissed. That’s right. Normally you have a right to be sentenced only for a charge you have pled guilty to or been convicted of. A Harvey Waiver waives that right. One of the charges will be “officially” dropped, but the sentence you would have received is added to your sentence for the charge that wasn’t dismissed. If you agree to a Harvey Waiver, you’ll have to pay the same fines and restitution that would have been part of the sentence for the dismissed charge.

Let’s say the police observe you hit a parked car and leave the scene. When they stop you, you’re intoxicated. You’re charged with both hit-and-run and DUI. The court agrees to drop the hit-and-run in exchange for a Harvey Waiver. The hit-and-run doesn’t appear on your record, but your sentence for the DUI ends up including the same penalties you would have faced if you had been convicted of hit-and-run. It’s absolutely imperative that you consult with a good DUI defense lawyer before accepting any deal or waiving any rights. An experienced California DUI defense attorney will aggressively defend all of your legal rights and fight for the very best resolution to your charges.