When to Consider a Plea Bargain for Your DWI Case
The preferred strategy when you have been charged with driving while intoxicated is to try to receive a “not guilty” verdict or to get the charge dismissed. In some cases, your best strategy is to minimize the penalties you receive. When a conviction seems unavoidable, your DWI defense attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with prosecutors, in which you agree to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge or lesser penalty. Plea bargaining should be a last resort after evaluating your case and determining how you can contest the charge. A plea bargain can still result in severe consequences.
The Reality of Plea Bargains
Your best-case scenario in plea bargaining with prosecutors would be to get your DWI charge reduced to reckless driving, obstruction of a highway or public intoxication. These charges could allow you to avoid jail time and a driver’s license suspension. However, prosecutors are more likely to offer lesser penalties in exchange for pleading guilty to DWI. When deciding whether to offer a plea bargain, prosecutors will consider:
- Your previous criminal record, or lack thereof;
- How much greater they claim your blood alcohol concentration was than the 0.08 legal limit;
- Whether there was a crash or injuries involved in the incident; and
- The conduct of yourself and the police officer during your arrest.
A first-time DWI conviction in Texas is a class B misdemeanor, with a minimum of 72 hours in jail and a driver’s license suspension of at least 90 days.
Contesting Your Charge
A DWI defense attorney will review the details of your case and consider all of your defense options before presenting a plea bargain as an option. It is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove the charge, and there are often facts in a case that cause reasonable doubt of guilt:
- The officer may have lacked reasonable suspicion to stop you or probable cause to arrest you;
- There may not be objective evidence that you were legally intoxicated;
- There may be an explanation for why you appeared intoxicated;
- Blood or breath samples may have been contaminated; or
- The officer may have violated your civil rights while arresting you.
Prosecutors may agree to drop the charge against you if you present evidence that would make your conviction unlikely.
Contact a San Antonio DWI Defense Attorney
A plea bargain could be your best choice in some situations but should never be your first choice. A San Antonio DWI defense lawyer at the Law Offices of Sam H. Lock will explore all options that could prevent a conviction. Schedule a free consultation by calling 888-726-5625.