When you’re facing a drunk driving charge in California, you may be confused, overwhelmed, frustrated, and burdened with the loss of your driving privileges and the costs of the case even before a decision is reached. A guilty or “no contest” plea may sound like a quick way to end the problem, but it is never a good idea to plead until you have spoken to an experienced California DUI defense attorney who is fighting on your behalf. Here’s why:
- The prosecutor is not advising you in your best interests. The prosecutor may already have urged you to take a plea. Maybe he or she argued that there was no way you would win in court or that you would get a lesser penalty if you plead guilty. It is in the prosecution’s best interests to end a case quickly, and for the prosecution, a plea deal is a quick end. However, what is in the prosecutor’s best interests is rarely in your best interests. Even if the case seems “black and white,” work with an attorney who can give you the advice you need – not the advice the prosecutor wants you to hear.
- You waive many constitutional rights when you plead guilty. Just a few of the rights you waive when you agree to a guilty plea are your right to remain silent, your right to cross-examine the witnesses against you, and your right to a trial. By working with a defense attorney, you protect these rights.
- A guilty plea is a conviction. A guilty plea results in a criminal conviction on your record, the same as if you went to trial and a jury decided you were guilty. In addition to affecting your driving privileges or work opportunities, a guilty plea in some DUI cases can affect other court cases or legal arrangements you’ve made. Your attorney can help you understand exactly how a plea might affect you and can help you reduce the negative impact of a plea if you do decide to take one.