Taking a Plea Bargain in a Florida DUI Case
Trustworthy Service by Our Jacksonville DUI Lawyer
A plea bargain is a deal struck between you and the prosecutor where you
agree to give up your right to a jury trial in exchange to the prosecutor
agreeing to reduce charges or agreeing to a reduction of penalties. A
limitation on plea bargains are mandatory minimum penalties which a judge
may impose no matter what the prosecutor and defense attorney have agreed
to. For guidance in defending against
DUI charges and negotiating plea bargains, you are urged to contact a Jacksonville
DUI defense lawyer.
Plea Bargains and Mandatory Minimum Penalties
In seeking a plea bargain, your best bargaining chip is having a strong
experienced attorney able to challenge the state's case in trial.
If the attorney discovers in the evidence a substantial weakness in the
state's case, the attorney may point this out to the prosecutor and
likely get a favorable bargain. For instance, discovery of a mistake in
the administration of the
breath test may lead to a plea bargain reducing a charge to
Reduction of charges is the most favorable method to plea bargain a DUI.
This is because the prosecutor does not have much room to deal in a DUI
charge due to mandatory minimum penalties set by law. These penalties for
first time DUI include mandatory adjudication (that is, no withhold of adjudication allowing
you to keep the conviction off your record), court costs, $500 fine, six
month license suspension, six to twelve months of reporting to probation
including DUI school, fifty community service hours and a ten day
vehicle impoundment at your expense.
Filing a Plea of "No Contest"
In many cases involving a plea bargain, the defendant will file a plea
of "no contest." This is also known as
nolo contendere, which is Latin for "I do not wish to contend." It is important
to understand the differences from this and a plea of "guilty."
In both cases, the defendant is accepting the sentencing and will, essentially,
be pleading guilty. The nuances, however, can make a huge difference.
The defendant is not admitting guilt, but is choosing to not fight the
charges; this can often happen in cases where the defendant views the
evidence as overwhelming and victory as unlikely.
In future cases, "no contest" can play a large role. For example,
in civil lawsuits such a plea cannot be used as evidence of the admission
of fault. It's also important to note that Florida views "no
contest" pleas the same as pleas of guilty. Should you be charged
again, it will be viewed as a prior conviction and will cause the same
consequences. Therefore, it is important to consider all options and discuss
them with your lawyer if you have been arrested.
DUI Attorney in Jacksonville, Florida
At The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we assist clients in the
Jacksonville area charged with DUI. With three former prosecutors on our
team, we are intimately familiar with the plea bargain dynamics in DUI
charges. Well-known for our courtroom skills, we are often able to obtain
plea bargains for our clients. Assisting in this endeavor is our trained
eye for weaknesses in the state's case. We are often able to persuade
prosecutors to allow our clients to plead to a lesser charge than DUI.
This often enables our clients to avoid license suspension and to avoid
having a DUI on their record.