Saturday, February 25, 2012

Seattle DUI Attorney philosophy on plea deals

One of my philosophies on defending a DUI out here in Seattle, WA is when to take a plea deal and when not do.  Often times during negotiation on a DUI case, the Prosecution isnt willing to offer any kind of plea deal.  When this happens the client has only two options.  Either plead guilty as charged on the DUI, or continue to fight the case and have a jury trial.

Here in Washington State every DUI charge carries a mandatory penalty.  For example on a first offense under .15 breath test the mandatory penalty is 1 day in jail, $866 fine, 90 day license suspension, and a 1 year ignition interlock requirement.  As I stated above often times the Prosecution is not willing to offer any sort of deal and they want the client to just take the DUI charge.

Well my philosophy when it comes to this is very simple.  Im of the opinion that in order for a person to plead guilty there needs to be some sort of incentive to do so.  Whether that is a reduction in charges, no jail, no license suspension, whatever the incentive is there needs to be one.  The interesting thing about being charged with a DUI in Washington State is if you go to trial on a DUI case, and you get convicted there is probably a very good chance that the Judge will impose the mandatory sentence.  The very same sentence the Prosecutor wanted.  So why not roll the dice and see what happens.

Now I can appreciate it when a client cant take the time of work, or they feel going to trial would end in the same result, or Ive even had clients say they felt there were guilty of the DUI and just wanted to move on.  My response to them is look you have this constitutional right.  You owe it to yourself to try and see what happens.  Often times I have clients that dont have any criminal history and this is their first brush with the law.  A DUI conviction can screw up a lot of things, and if you dont have any interesting in doing whatever is possible to try and avoid this then why hire a Seattle DUI Attorney.

This is just my opinion on this.  Obviously going to trial on a DUI case is not something to be taken lightly.  It takes a lot of commitment, a lot more court time, and you run the risk of getting more jail.  But with that being said I've represented thousands of people charged with a DUI, and I've litigated almost 125 jury trials.  Not once has a client ever been worse off for going to trial.  Take that for what its worth.

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