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....