Is The Original Plea Offer Rescinded If Someone Goes To Trial?
The original plea may be rescinded depending on the outcome of the trail. I can give you an example. In San Francisco over the last number of years, the DAs will typically offer a much lighter sentence if you plead guilty to a DUI versus if you are convicted. They only want a couple of days for clients to do community service as in picking up trash on our highways. They are called work programs. But if you lose at jury trial, they will ask for a good thirty to sixty days of community service or you go to jail. If you assert your right to a jury trial, you should not get punished anymore; it is taxing on our state.
Unfortunately, if the courts have continued to say that it is not a trial tax and they just say that by pleading guilty earlier in the proceedings, they are cutting you a break. I do not like the way the system works, but what will probably happen if there were no greater penalties or trial tax, more cases would go to trial and that means more work for the courts, the DA’s offices and they feel like they are busy enough as it is, especially with all the budget cuts over the last several years.
How Do You Explain All The Options Available To A DUI Defendant?
What the client needs to understand is how it is going to affect their lives, if they take a plea deal versus going to trial and if they win or lose at trial. We need to look at are they in school, is this going to affect their higher education if they choose that path; their job, what kind of work do they do; their driver’s license, how important is this; and having a criminal record is no joke. We talk about expungements to our clients, which means, if they are convicted after a period of probation, sometimes before probation is over, we can apply to have the case dismissed, and then what effect does that have? What about travel will that affect their lives?
You cannot travel to Canada with a DUI conviction for many years. There is a loophole there and there is a one-time exemption, but you have to do some things to make that happen. If you are someone who works or has a company where you work for a company in Canada, having a conviction of a DUI is probably going to result in you not able to work for that company anymore. If you have a job that requires driving, a conviction of a DUI will eliminate that job prospect. It is just the way it goes. If you are on a company’s auto insurance plan and you get a DUI and you are convicted of that DUI, you are most likely not going to be able to stay employed.
You have a lot of different things that go in this decision. Cost comes into play, how much is it going to cost? Every trial is different depending on whether or not we need expert witnesses or any other anticipated costs leading to trial. The client also needs to understand that attorneys, good lawyers, who prepare for trial, are spending a lot of time, a lot of nights and weekends in their offices instead of doing what they would otherwise do with what sometimes is free time. Most attorneys have a number of clients and those clients are not going to have as much excess to the attorney when the attorney is in trial. It is a huge commitment for the client and for the attorney once the trial starts and also in preparing for the trial.
If the client is going to testify, they need to understand the questions that we are going to ask of them, and that the other side will be doing the same. They need to understand the best way possible how to answers those questions and we will prepare them for that part of the process, as well as what not to say. Sometimes you say too much can be a big problem. So we spend a lot of time preparing clients and teaching them how to answer questions.
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