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How does a DUI plea bargain work?

Every drunk driving case in North Carolina is different. Depending on the case, a defense lawyer might be able to defend his or her client's innocence. In other situations, a conviction could be likely. When a conviction is likely, your DUI lawyer might encourage you to try and negotiate a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution.

In a plea bargain, the defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea -- often to a less severe charge. In exchange for the guilty plea, the defendant will usually receive a dramatically reduced sentence. For example, perhaps the defendant will be sentenced to community service instead of jail, or he or she will need to attend an alcohol program rather than lose the ability to drive.

The prosecution may not agree to a plea bargain in all situations. Different factors that may affect the prosecution's decision in this regard include the evidence surrounding the DUI allegations, the seriousness of the alleged wrongdoing and the likelihood of whether the defendant will be found guilty.

Another factor that could promote a plea bargain is the fact that the criminal justice system as a whole is overburdened. Any way of resolving a criminal case without the requirement of an expensive, long and drawn-out trial may be seen as positive by both the prosecution and the court.

Do you think that negotiating a plea bargain in your North Carolina DUI case could result in a reduced punishment in the event of a conviction? If that's the case, be sure to discuss the possibility of a plea bargain with your criminal law attorney as soon as possible.

Source: FindLaw, "DUI Plea Bargains," accessed March 17, 2017

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