Defend Myself? Plea Bargain? Take Probation?

“My friend was charged with DUI and faced jail time…”

“He made a plea bargain, payed a fine, and got probation…”

“Maybe I should do the same thing —
be my own attorney.”

Before You Decide

If you are considering making a plea bargain or accepting probation instead of jail time, know what you are doing.

Know the consequences, the requirements, the monies due, the statutory fees included, the license loss, any consequences on special licenses such as a CDL or motorcycle.

Here’s What You Need to Consider

These are the Top-7 Points

  1. What is the maximum penalty for these offenses?
  2. What are the likely outcomes given my facts and circumstances?
  3. How is this offense being treated by the media currently.
  4. Are there special cases that are newsworthy at the current time?
  5. How did this effect other people involved in the offense?
  6. What are some of the factors that will damage my case?
  7. Do I testify on behalf of myself or do I not?

It Can Get Complicated

“Should I have a trial by a judge or a jury?” is a really big question. You may want to think about important questions such as these:

  • Do I truly understand what the role of the judge would be?
  • What is the role of the jury?
  • Can I win?
  • What if I lose what would be the worst outcome, consequences etc.
  • Know your rights, know how a trial is conducted?
  • How long it might take to reach trial?

What About the Evidence?

Do you understand how trial evidence is used and considered? For example:

  • Know how breath test readings may be used in sentencing?
  • Know how field sobriety tests are used? Are they accurate, what other factors are considered in doing these tests?
  • How might your tests be misinterpretted? etc.

How Other Agencies Regard a Conviction?

How will out of state DUIs or old OUIs affect the outcome of this case.  How will the Registry of Motor Vehicles react? And there is more:

  • Are there Federal licensing laws that apply to CDL licenses?
  • Do I understand enhanced penalties?
  • Do I know about Melanie’s Law?
  • What if I am a junior operator?

Can I Deal With Probation & Penalty Fees?

What other circumstances should you consider before you make the plea bargain deal?

  • How much restitution will I be required to pay?
  • What if your financial situation changes.  
  • How are you going to be able to complete your probationary period if your income changes?
  • Do you ask for more time and will your probation be surrendered? 

Know What You are Doing

Judges Gavel
The decision to enter into a plea must be made knowing the charges, the consequences and your statutory Constitutional rights. Your facts may be entirely different than a friend or a family member. Be sure that you understand how it could affect the rest of your life — your military career, job, school, applications, and driving?