A DUI or DWI plea bargain is a simple agreement between a prosecutor and the individual accused of a crime to resolve the matter in exchange for terms of sentencing. The defendant typically enters into a no contest or guilty plea to the DWI offense, or pleads guilty to a lesser offense in order to receive a punishment that is less severe.
The good news is that in the state of Minnesota, plea bargaining for a DWI is an option. Not all criminal matters, after all, need to reach trial. Plea bargains usually cover areas such as sentence duration, modification of charge, and the dismissal of other charges that the defendant might face. If you plead guilty to a lesser charge in this state, then you may just be granted a reduced sentence or charge for your DWI case. Your attorney may plead you down to a reckless driving or wet reckless driving offense.
In Minnesota, there are generally two types of pleas commonly entered: Guilty pleas and Alford pleas . A guilty plea means that defendant admits to committing the crime, while an Alford plea means the defendant pleads guilty without admitting to the facts which constitute the crime and accepts the subsequent sentence/punishment. This form of plea generally means that the defendant is not admitting to the crime, but agrees that the evidence is such that there is a strong likelihood hood they would be found guilty if the matter proceeded to trial. Furthermore, the defendant, to avoid the risk of losing out on a plea agreement, pleads guilty to avoid the risk of trial.
Of course, whether or not an attorney will be able to plead you down to a lesser offense greatly depends on the presence of any aggravating factors – such as if you have any prior DWI offenses or if there was an underage passenger in the vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest.
A DWI plea bargain may be an attractive option for you if you do not want to risk taking the case to trial and losing. While a trial outcome can be unpredictable, a plea bargain provides both the defense and the prosecution some form of control over the case’s result.
On the side of the prosecution, a plea bargain means being able to save time and money, as well as securing a conviction. On the side of the defendant, a plea bargain means increasing the chances of receiving a lesser sentence. The prosecution may just agree to drop some charges and reduce the seriousness of the crime. The prosecution may also agree to a particular sentence and make it part of the agreement, and recommend this sentence to the judge during sentencing. In some instances, the prosecutor may agree to recommend probation instead of jail time.
Of course, the judge does not have to agree to a plea agreement, regardless of the promises of the prosecution to the defendant. If the judge accepts the plea, however, the outcome is final. In most instances though, prosecutors tend to have the trust of the judges.
Keep in mind that the legal services of a good DWI attorney can greatly affect the outcome of your case. An attorney may be able to bring up several defenses that will successfully plead you to a lesser offense.