Overview of Plea Bargains in Washtenaw County
A plea bargain occurs when you, or your attorney, bargain with the prosecutor to receive a lesser drunk driving offense than the one charged, or to receive a particular sentence/penalty. In exchange, you will agree to plead guilty pursuant to the agreement in which you or your attorney obtain from the prosecutor. The prosecutor may offer several different types of plea deals depending on the nature of the evidence asserted against you. The judge can either accept the plea, or refuse it all together.
Under certain constitutional provisions, if you decide to accept a plea deal, you must be forewarned of the following:
1. You must be advised of the consequences of pleading guilty;
2. The judge must validate that you understand that you are giving up certain constitutional rights when pleading guilty;
3. You must admit to the critical elements of the offense; and
4. The judge must validate that you have made an intelligent and voluntary plea.
In Michigan, many first time operating while intoxicated (OWI) charges can be plead down to operating while visibly impaired (OWVI). Additionally, most drunk driving cases for first time offenders are resolved through plea bargains.
Plea Bargain Pros & Cons
Accepting or rejecting a plea bargain will vary on a case-by-case basis. For example, if you want to avoid the risk of receiving a guilty verdict at trial for the charged offense, then you may want to consider a plea deal if there is a vast amount of evidence asserted against you. If there is little to no evidence to indicate you were impaired, or that you meet the specific elements of an OWI offense, then it may be in your best interest to go to trial and assert a defense. In most situations, you are given a specific deadline in which you can enter a voluntary plea deal.
Hire a Drunk Driving Attorney
You should never enter a plea of guilty to any drunk driving charge without first consulting with an experienced attorney. A skilled DUI attorney can often negotiate the offense to a lesser charge. An attorney will review the evidence and advise you on whether or not to accept a deal.
If you have been arrested for an OWI/OWVI in Ann Arbor, contact Ann Arbor criminal defense attorney Stacey Washington to help you navigate through this difficult situation in your life. Stacey Washington has helped numerous clients mitigate any long-term consequences of OWIs/OWPDs.