Pleading Down Your DUI Charge
Sometimes, individuals facing criminal charges are offered plea bargains— opportunities to plead guilty to a less severe charge than the one they are actually facing. A plea bargain can benefit the defendant as well as the court and criminal justice system: while the defendant avoids the severe penalties associated with his or her charge, the court saves time and money by not having to go through the process of completing a criminal trial. Plea bargains can also prevent overcrowding in jails and prisons.
In Illinois, it is possible to “plead down” a DUI charge to a reckless driving charge. When an individual accepts an offer to plead guilty to reckless driving, he or she avoids having a DUI charge on his or her record and many of the penalties that accompany it, like a mandatory driver’s license revocation.
Who Gets Offered Plea Deals?
Plea bargains are offered at the discretion of the state attorney prosecuting the case. Attorneys are human beings, so some are more apt to offer plea bargains than others. Some do not offer them on principle. Others are quite liberal with their offers. The judge handling a case also has input in plea deals.
The factors about your case play a big role in determining whether you will be offered a plea bargain. Typically, an individual with a clean driving record is more likely to be offered the chance to plead down his or her charge than an individual who has been arrested for a previous DUI. An individual whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was above the legal limit of 0.08 percent, but not significantly higher, is also more likely to be offered an opportunity to plead guilty to reckless driving than an individual whose BAC was far beyond the legal limit for drivers.
How to Plead Down Your DUI Charge
At any point in your trial the state can decide to offer a plea bargain. If you are offered a plea bargain, talk it over with your lawyer before choosing to accept or reject it. Your lawyer can weigh the potential outcome of continuing to defend your case versus the guaranteed outcome of accepting the deal to advise you about it. He or she can also ensure that the deal does not violate your rights in any way. This could involve a 402 conference, a meeting between your attorney, the prosecutor, and the judge to determine the exact terms of the plea deal.
If you accept the plea bargain, the judge must approve it in order for it to be finalized.
Work with an Experienced Naperville DUI Defense Lawyer
If you are facing a DUI charge, you can potentially have it reduced to a reckless driving charge. Speak with an experienced Naperville DUI defense lawyer to determine if this is the right course of action for you. In some cases, fighting a DUI charge is the better choice. Schedule your initial consultation with Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC today to discuss your case with us in greater detail.