There are times that the facts in a DUI case present themselves in a light that is favorable to a plea negotiation which is commonly known as a plea bargain. This type of disposition can operate to reduce a DUI or DUID charge to reckless or negligent driving. If a plea bargain is accepted by a judge, to a “wet reckless” or negligent driving, Washington’s harsh DUI and DUID sentencing laws can be avoided.Why Might Prosecutors Want to Make a Deal?
Prosecutors don’t like to lose cases, especially when they have the vast resources of the State of Washington behind them. When our office recognizes a weakness in a prosecutor’s case against one of our clients, we try to exploit that weakness to the client’s advantage. For example, the facts surrounding a case might not be sufficient for purposes of obtaining a conviction, or a witness vanished into thin air. Sometimes there might not have been a good reason to stop the client, or there might be questions about breath or blood testing. When we bring issues like those to a prosecutor’s attention, he or she might start thinking about a negotiated plea of guilty in return for a reduction of the DUI charge. If an offer to reduce the DUI charge is made, we typically make our own recommendations in order to enhance its terms and improve on the ultimate disposition of the case for our client.
Factors and Circumstances Influencing Negotiated Pleas
Even if a person is charged on a first DUI or DUID, he or she is at risk of being jailed or wearing an electric home monitor. Assuming that a judge accepts a favorable plea deal, that eliminates those risks. Judges enter negotiated pleas routinely. Here are some of the facts and circumstances that can influence a negotiated plea:
- No evidence of aggravation.
- The legality of the stop.
- The manner in which testing the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration was performed.
- Whether the defendant has been convicted of any crimes in the past.
- The volume of cases in the court.
- The prosecution’s own internal policies. Spokane County has its own written policies that DUI prosecutors must follow.
- Having an experienced, and effective Spokane DUI lawyer who is respected by both prosecutors and judges.
If we’re representing you on your DUI charge, you can expect to participate in an honest and frank discussion weighing any negotiated plea that might be offered. Make sure that you consider the likelihood of success at trial and the harsh consequences of a DUI conviction. It’s your choice. We want you to be as well informed as possible in making your decision.