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At What Point Does A Prosecutor Generally Offer A Plea Deal In A DUI Case?


The point at which a prosecutor will offer a plea deal in a DUI case will depend on the county in which the case is being held. For example, in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and sometimes even San Francisco County, prosecutors will usually provide an offer at the first court appearance. An experienced DUI lawyer will conduct an intensive investigation of all the discovery, obtain records for the breath testing machine that was used, track the chain of custody for any blood sample, search for video and audio recordings of the initial stop and arrest, and obtain witness statements. There are many things to do prior to entering negotiations, so prosecutors typically provide offers early on. Depending on the evidence and circumstances specific to the case at hand, it may be possible to get a better plea deal than the one initially given. With the right lawyer, this becomes all the more likely, which is why it is so important to hire an experienced DUI lawyer after being arrested for DUI.

Can Someone Reconsider A Plea Offer After They Have Declined It?

A plea offer is almost never accepted at the first appearance, although some circumstances will dictate that doing so is the best option. For example, if the prosecutor has not become aware of prior DUI convictions from another part of the state at the time of the offer, then it may be wise to accept the offer rather than provide the prosecutor with more time to discover those prior convictions. In most other cases, declining the plea offer initially will provide the defense attorney and defendant with additional time to conduct an investigation and ensure that there is no evidence which, if exposed, would benefit the defendant.

The fact that prosecutors don’t want to take cases to trial can be used to the benefit of the defendant because it means that they will be willing to negotiate if they believe the defendant might pursue the case at trial. Not pleading guilty right away is not something that will be used against a defendant, but rather something that’s usually to be expected. Prosecutors expect most defendants to obtain a lawyer who will investigate and fight the case on their behalf. In fact, if someone pleads guilty to DUI right away without a lawyer, most judges will tell them to speak to a lawyer before making that decision so that they are fully informed of what’s at stake.

Can My DUI Defense Attorney Get My Case Dropped Or Reduced To A Lesser Offense At This Point?

At the first court appearance, it is uncommon for prosecutors to offer a plea that involves a lesser offense. Instead, this is something that has to be earned after presenting a variety of information that places the defendant in a good light. For example, if someone had an alcohol concentration of 0.10 or lower, then the prosecutor would likely charge a regular DUI.

At that point, the defense attorney would launch a full investigation and try to beat the case. If that’s not going to happen and the client does not want to go to a jury trial, then the defense attorney will present the district attorney with reasons as to why the DUI charge should be reduced to a wet reckless. In doing this, it is helpful to provide positive background information about the client and personalize them in the eyes of the district attorney. It can also help to show that the client has been attending AA meetings or seeing a counselor, as this will demonstrate that the client is taking the case seriously. In some cases, taking these steps will not be necessary in the beginning of the case.

It’s important to have an attorney who practices in the county where the arrest occurred. I can always provide recommendations, as I know lawyers in almost every state because I’m a member of national groups of DUI lawyers and attend conferences all over the country.

For more information on Plea Deals In DUI Cases In California, a free case evaluation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (415) 523-7878 today.

Aaron Bortel

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