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Plea Bargaining in DUI Cases

Criminal Defense Attorney Assisting Clients in the Nashville Area

An arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) can lead to criminal charges and potentially serious consequences if convicted. For some people, taking a plea deal in their Nashville case may be advantageous. Plea bargaining in DUI cases can avoid the cost and uncertain outcome of a trial, while allowing the defendant to have some control over the end result. If you are facing DUI charges in Davidson or Williamson County, a lawyer can negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf. Bernie McEvoy is a Nashville DUI attorney with significant experience defending against drunk and drugged driving charges. He can also protect your rights throughout the plea bargaining process and help you make a carefully considered decision.

Plea Bargaining in DUI Cases

As a practical matter, only a fraction of DUI cases will go to trial. Many DUI charges are resolved through a plea agreement between the defendant and the state. Plea bargaining is an arrangement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for leniency. If the parties reach a plea agreement in a DUI case, it must be approved by the presiding judge. A plea deal may result in a reduced or different charge, dismissal of one or more of the other charges in the case, or lighter penalties sought by the state during sentencing. Overall, the defendant will face consequences that are less severe than if convicted of the original charges. In return, the defendant enters a guilty plea in court, waives the right to a trial, and waives the right to appeal.

The advantages and drawbacks of plea bargaining in DUI cases can vary depending on the facts of the case and the defendant’s personal preferences. For some people, agreeing to the terms of a plea deal is more desirable than facing the uncertain outcome and expense of a trial. In addition, accepting a plea deal will typically resolve a DUI case in less time than if the matter is set for trial. Ultimately, the decision is a personal choice that must be made voluntarily and knowingly. An attorney can explain the consequences of a plea agreement in a DUI case and assist in determining whether to accept an offer.

Considerations in DUI Plea Bargaining

There are many aspects of plea bargaining in a DUI case. Foremost, it is important to note that plea bargaining may not be possible in every case. The state attorneys are limited by the laws and policies of their jurisdiction. In some areas of Tennessee, prosecutors will not reduce a DUI charge at all. In general, the weaker the evidence is against the defendant, the more likely it is that the prosecutor will agree to a plea bargain. When plea agreements are made, particularly those reducing a DUI charge to reckless driving or reckless endangerment, it is typically because a DUI conviction is uncertain.

Weaknesses in the prosecution’s case may include a lack of reasonable suspicion or probable cause for the police to make the initial traffic stop, the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) level was below the legal limit of .08 as a result of a field sobriety test, evidence was obtained from an unlawful police search of the defendant’s vehicle, a breathalyzer machine was used improperly or other potentially inadmissible evidence was gathered. A lawyer has the experience to point out flaws in the prosecution’s case and argue for an appropriate plea agreement in light of the circumstances.

Seek Guidance from an Attorney in the Nashville Area

Accepting a plea deal is a significant decision that should be made with the guidance of a lawyer. Attorney Bernie McEvoy can work towards a favorable plea bargain for people facing a DUI charge. He represents defendants in DUI and drug cases throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, particularly Nashville and Franklin. Schedule a free consultation by calling (615) 255-9595 during business hours or (615) 804-8779 after hours and on weekends, or contacting us online.

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