Plea bargaining has become more and more central to criminal law in America, at both the federal and state levels. 94% of criminal convictions by state courts come from plea deals; at the federal level, that number is 97%.
This is as true of drunk driving offenses as other crimes. There are several reasons why those charged with driving under the influence never face a jury or court trial. First, some people simply wish to avoid the hassle and inconvenience that comes with a DWI trial. Others feel there’s nothing to be gained from going to trial, especially if a favorable resolution has been reached through the pretrial negotiation process.
These sentiments are understandable, but they don’t always lead to good decision-making by defendants. Many Minnesota DWI charges have legal issues that could lead to acquittals, if presented to a jury. Each case is different; the only way to see whether yours is worth bringing to trial is by seeking legal advice.
Advantages of Undergoing a DWI Trial
The primary advantage of taking a DWI to trial is the possibility of securing an acquittal. Unless a judge decides to dismiss your case on a pretrial motion, this is generally the only way you’ll escape a DWI charge without any blemish on your record.
Avoiding a criminal record is a good idea for a number of reasons. Many employers conduct background checks on prospective hires nowadays; a conviction on your record may disqualify you from jobs. While Minnesota’s “ban the box” legislation prohibits employers from asking about criminal history on initial application forms, there’s nothing stopping them from doing so later in your application process. Landlords and financial institutions can also undertake these checks.
While it’s possible to have a DWI expunged from your record, it’s obviously preferable not to get convicted in the first place.
Advantages of Taking a DWI Plea Deal
Through the pretrial process, it is still possible to resolve your matter without a DWI conviction. With effective legal representation, you may be able to negotiate your way from a DWI/DUI conviction through different proposals offered by the prosecution such as reduced offenses or other avenues that result in a non-conviction for DWI. It is important to remember, to receive such an outcome, having the assistance of an experienced attorney that focuses on drunk driving representation is crucial.
Obviously, defendants who accept DWI plea bargains usually emerge with better outcomes than those who choose go to trial and eventually are found guilty of DUI, even if they don’t have their charges downgraded. It’s fair to assume they’re less likely to end up in jail and more than likely pay lower fines. There are also the intangibles. Many individuals simply want to avoid the stress that a jury trial may bring, especially if they can reach a favorable outcome prior to trial that may avoid a DWI conviction.
What Should You Do?
Generally, many prosecutors are inclined to want to try to resolve matters without the necessity of a trial when it comes to DWI related charges. However, it is still imperative that your defense is presented in a persuasive way even during the negotiation process. For instance, if your case looks winnable, your attorney can often negotiate a more favorable outcome since the prosecution might feel they are facing a possible acquittal, if the case is tried. Again, the decision to ultimately go to trial will need to be weighed between you and your attorney with you making the best decision for yourself, in light of all the facts.
In summary, If you find yourself facing DWI related charges, we can help you decide which course of action is best in your situation. Contact us today for a free case eval