If you are charged in California with DUI, you will be assigned a court date. This first hearing is called an arraignment, where three things take place:
- The judge will explain your charge(s) and the maximum potential sentence
- The judge will ask you to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or no contest
- The judge or prosecutor will give you a “standard offer”
A standard offer is the plea deal offered to all accused persons in your same situation. If others face the same charge for the same numbered offense, they receive precisely the same offer. The problem for those facing DUI charges is that every DUI case is different. Some who are charged with DUI were arrested with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent, barely reaching the legal limit. Others were arrested with a BAC twice that level or higher. And what if someone faces precisely the same charge you face, but he or she has a list of prior convictions when you’ve never even been previously arrested? The “standard offer” hardly seems fair from that perspective.
To complicate the unfairness, at the time of an arraignment, the prosecutor and judge have not even looked at your file and don’t know the facts of your case. They offer you the routine standard offer because they want to clear your case as quickly as possible. That’s why it’s imperative to have help from an experienced California DUI defense attorney.
A good DUI defense lawyer will review the standard offer and determine if you should accept it. If you have a weak case or no real defense, your attorney may recommend accepting the standard offer. However, if you have a strong defense strategy, your attorney will advise you to decline the standard offer. Your attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor for a better plea agreement or the dismissal of your charge; should that not be possible, an experienced California DUI defense attorney will defend you aggressively in the courtroom, attempt to discredit the prosecutor’s witnesses and evidence, and fight for the best possible outcome. The standard offer is seldom the best. If you’re charged now or in the future with DUI in California, get the advice and representation you need, and speak to an experienced DUI defense attorney immediately.