Plea bargaining is a pivotal part of our criminal justice system. It is an agreement between the prosecutor and defendant, where the defendant pleads guilty to some or all charges in exchange for concessions from the prosecution like lesser punishment. This process is very common with more than 90% of criminal cases resulting in plea bargains.
Plea bargains, of course, cannot be accomplished without the help of experienced lawyers. In this article, we’re going to explore the role of a lawyer in plea bargaining for DUI and OWI cases, shedding light on how they can negotiate on your behalf and help you make informed decisions.
If you’re considering accepting a plea deal for drunk driving charges, understanding the insights and legal expertise brought by a DUI/OWI lawyer can be the key to securing the best possible outcome.
- What is Plea Bargaining?
- The Importance of Having an Experienced OWI Lawyer
- Preparing for Plea Bargaining
- Negotiating a Plea Bargain
- Advantages of Plea Bargaining
- Disadvantages of Plea Bargaining
- Should You Accept or Reject a Plea Bargain?
- Best DUI Lawyers in Milwaukee
1. What is Plea Bargaining?
Plea bargaining is an agreement between the defendant and prosecution that is reached in lieu of going to trial. Plea bargains, often called plea deals, have the defendant plead guilty to some or all charges in exchange for a lesser punishment.
It’s an effective way for both the prosecution and the defense to reach a resolution that satisfies all parties involved. It’s important to note, however, that plea bargaining waives the defendant’s right to a jury trial and requires an admission of guilt.
2. The Importance of Having an Experienced OWI Lawyer
An experienced DUI/OWI lawyer will be well-versed in DUI offenses and will understand how to negotiate to reach a favorable resolution. They can assess the strength of the prosecution’s case, identify potential weaknesses or errors, and advise their clients on the best course of action.
Importantly, an experienced DUI/OWI lawyer also understands the potential implications of a conviction on their client’s life, including effects on employment, reputation, and personal relationships. This holistic understanding allows them to advocate for their clients’ rights and will do what’s best for their client, including trying to reach a favorable plea bargain.
3. Preparing for Plea Bargaining
First, lawyers will conduct an investigation of the facts to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution’s case. The attorney must be ready to negotiate with the prosecution, recognizing their tactics and motivations, and standing firm for the rights of their client.
Attorneys will also develop realistic expectations about the potential outcomes and discuss these with the client. Being able to predict how a trial may go, based on years of experience, will help attorneys weigh pros and cons of a plea deal.
4. Negotiating a Plea Bargain
Negotiating a plea bargain in a DUI/OWI case is a nuanced process. It involves a careful analysis of the case, including the strength of the prosecution’s evidence, any errors, and the specific circumstances of the arrest.
It’s crucial for the lawyer to communicate with the prosecution to discuss possible outcomes and work towards a resolution. A good DUI lawyer will seek to reduce the charges or penalties, ensuring their client’s rights are protected throughout the process.
Additionally, the lawyer must ensure that their client fully understands the consequences of accepting a plea bargain, including the implications for their legal record and any potential restrictions on their future rights. An experienced lawyer should never sway their client into accepting a deal that isn’t best for them.
5. Advantages of Plea Bargaining
Plea bargaining can have both advantages and disadvantages, and it is important to weigh them carefully before making any decisions. Some of the advantages of accepting a plea bargain for a DUI/OWI case include:
- Reduced Sentences: The most significant advantage is that plea bargaining usually results in reduced sentences or lesser charges.
- Efficiency: Plea bargaining speeds up the legal process, helping to reduce the time and resources required for a full trial.
- Cost Savings: By avoiding a trial, both the defendant and the state can save significant amounts of money. The defendant saves on attorney fees, and the state saves on court costs.
6. Disadvantages of Plea Bargaining
Some disadvantages to consider for a DUI/OWI case are:
- Innocent Pleas: There is a risk that innocent people may feel pressured to accept a plea bargain to avoid the uncertainty of a trial, potentially leading to wrongful convictions.
- Limited Appeal Rights: When a defendant accepts a plea deal, they often waive their right to appeal, which can be problematic if issues of unfair treatment or procedural error arise later.
- Lack of Transparency: The plea bargaining process happens behind closed doors and can lack the transparency of a public trial. This may lead to perceptions of injustice or favoritism.
7. Should You Accept or Reject a Plea Bargain?
Deciding whether to accept or reject a plea bargain in a DUI/OWI case is a critical decision that should be made with the guidance of an experienced lawyer. Accepting a plea bargain may be a good choice if the evidence against you is strong, making a conviction at trial likely.
A plea bargain might also be beneficial if it significantly reduces potential penalties or helps to avoid a criminal record. However, rejecting a plea offer could be the right move if you believe you have a strong defense, if there were procedural errors in your arrest, or if the plea deal doesn’t provide enough benefit to outweigh the consequences of pleading guilty.
Remember, a plea bargain is essentially an admission of guilt and can carry long-term implications, including impacts on employment opportunities and driving privileges. Therefore, it’s crucial to discuss the specifics of your situation with your lawyer before making any decisions.
8. Best DUI Lawyers in Milwaukee
A DUI/OWI lawyer plays an important role in plea bargaining. They have the knowledge and experience to navigate the legal system and negotiate on behalf of their clients.
If you are facing a DUI in or near Milwaukee, seek the help of a Milwaukee drunk driving lawyer from Fenton Law. Fenton Law is a criminal law firm with dedicated attorneys who will work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Don’t face these charges alone, contact Fenton Law today for a free consultation.
By Attorney Jay Fenton, Owner of Fenton Law Office
Jay Fenton is a top-rated criminal defense attorney in Milwaukee who goes above and beyond for his clients. He has successfully secured favorable outcomes in countless cases, from negotiating plea agreements to filing pre-trial motions and managing complex appeals. Attorney Fenton also has had tremendous success achieving not-guilty verdicts at trial. His dedication and aggressiveness make him one of the best attorneys around.