Inside the DUI Plea Bargaining Process

Posted by James Ferguson | Feb 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

Not all DUI offenses end in a conviction. In fact, a large percentage of DUI charges are resolved by the plea bargaining process. Only a small percentage of DUI cases in Mississippi actually go to trial. There are various plea bargaining strategies an experienced DUI defense attorney will use to get a favorable outcome for his or her defendant. The plea bargain can consist of a dismissal in exchange for penalties or even a lesser charge.

Plea Bargain Process
The plea bargain can happen at any time during the trial process. In that respect, the defense attorney has the power of plea bargaining as the trial progresses. They can use it as a means of obtaining the best outcome for the defendant as they gauge the trajectory of the case. For example, if the defendant believed he has an exonerating piece of evidence, which ends up bearing no fruit, then the defense has the plea bargaining tactic as a another option to help the defendant's case. After the defense successfully negotiates a plea deal with the prosecutor, the defense goes back to the defendant and presents the offer. The defendant has the opportunity to accept or reject the deal with the help of the defense attorney. The plea deal is often a more attractive option than going to trial, especially where a conviction is certain.

Dismissal in Exchange for Penalties
One kind of plea deal offered to DUI offenders is to drop the DUI charges, but still require that the offender participate in programs that are part of the conviction penalties. This plea deal can require the offender to take an alcohol safety education course, participate in community service, pay all court costs and fines and/or receive a suspended license. When the defendant meets the terms of the penalties, the prosecutor has the ability to drop the DUI charges if it is within the state's best interest.

Lesser Charge
A frequently used plea bargain option is for the defendant to plea to a lesser charge (sometimes referred to as a lesser included offense). If the prosecutor agrees to a lesser charge such as disorderly conduct, the defendant can agree to plead guilty to that lesser charge. This lesser charge preserves judicial economy by saving the prosecutor from trying the case. At the same time, the defendant is subject to some kind of penalty for his or her actions, but at that lower class of crime. There are both pros and cons to the DUI plea bargain system where a plea bargain is warranted. A skillful defense attorney will be able to guide you through the process.

Your DUI Attorney
Attorney James Robert Ferguson is an experienced DUI attorney with years of experience defending DUI cases. Driving Under the Influence is a serious crime. If you have been charged with DUI, you need an experienced attorney. Attorney Ferguson is well-versed in DUI defense strategies tailored to your unique case. Attorney Ferguson understands the importance of putting the charge behind you. Call us now for a consultation.

See related blog posts:
Expect These Penalties for a First-Time DUI Conviction
DUI Penalties in Mississippi

About the Author

James Ferguson

I was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. During college, I studied at East Tennessee State University, where I received a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice, which I then followed up with a Master's in Criminology from the University of Memphis. Before beginning my legal career, I worked as a Project Coordinator at the University of Memphis, where I assisted in training law enforcement officers in the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training. The purpose of the project was to provide officers with the tools to deal with citizens in a state of mental crisis. I then went on to study law at the Mississippi College School of Law in Jackson. During law school, I clerked with Victor W. Carmody, Jr., the lawyer who wrote the book on DUI law in Mississippi. I am currently licensed to practice law in both Tennessee and Mississippi, and spend a majority of my time traveling the highways and biways of Mississippi defending those who have been charged with a DUI.


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