We work very hard for our clients to help them achieve the best result in court, but sometimes the best option involves taking a plea deal to avoid the potential of a much more unfavorable outcome. Knowing about your plea options can help you make the best decision for your DUI case, so we want to lay out what’s available to you in today’s blog. Below, we take a closer look at your plea options if you’re facing a DUI charge in Illinois.
Three Plea Options
On the surface, there are three main ways you can plead when you’re called on in court. You can:
- Plead Guilty – Pleading guilty means you admit guilt to the levied charges.
- Plead Not Guilty – This statement suggests that you do not feel the charges are fair and you plan to contest the acquisition of guilt in court.
- No Contest – You are not admitting guilt for the charges, but at the same time, this admission means you are not going to contest the charges in court and the court can determine your punishment. It’s very similar to pleading guilty, but it holds its own category.
You might believe that the only time you’d need a lawyer by your side is if you planned to plead not guilty and challenge the charges in court, but that’s simply not true. A lawyer can be a great asset at any point in your case, but especially if it seems like a guilty finding is inevitable. If it seems pretty clear cut that you were in the wrong and you suspect you’ll have a tough time in court, consider working with a lawyer to see if a plea deal can be reached.
During a plea deal, you will agree to plead guilty to the charge, but you get to have some say in the punishments for your crime. You can even agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, because prosecutors are often overburdened and looking for ways to lighten their caseload. For example,
Instead of trying a drunk driving case in court, the prosecution may agree to a plea deal that sees you plead guilty to a lowered count of reckless driving. The prosecution still gets to chalk up the case as a conviction, you get to avoid a more serious charge and potential penalties, and everyone avoids the hassle of court.
What you can negotiate during a plea deal comes down to how well your attorney understands the law, the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and other intricacies of the court system. We’ll also work closely with you to understand what’s important to you during the process. If avoiding jail or keeping your driver’s license is a must, we can work to broker a deal that allows you to avoid a potentially disastrous outcome.
Winning your case comes first, but even if your case seems strong, a good lawyer will always hear and discuss plea options with the other side. Knowing all the options available to you can help you make the best decision and avoid surprises. So if you want help winning your case or getting the best plea deal after a drunk driving charge, reach out to Brett Appelman and the experienced team at Appelman & Lloyd today.