Virginia Plea Bargains in DUI Cases
Have you been charged with a DUI in the Commonwealth of Virginia? If so, you may want to ask your attorney about a plea agreement for your case. A plea agreement is not available in all parts of Virginia because it is at the discretion of the Commonwealth’s attorney to offer a plea agreement. Many times a plea agreement offer will be made in less serious traffic events, while aggravating factors like vehicle collisions, injuries to pedestrians or car occupants, and bad behavior after the traffic stop may lessen your chances to get a fair plea bargain offer from the Commonwealth Attorney.
If you are offered a plea agreement it serves as a suggestion of punishment to the judge. In Virginia, you will either have to plead guilty to the DUI charge or in some instances you may have to plead no contest. If you plead guilty the Commonwealth will in turn recommend a lesser sentence to the trial judge. This may be of interest if you feel you do not have an adequate defense to your DUI. It would be best to have your case evaluated by an experienced DUI attorney.
A plea bargain can offer many advantages:
- 1. Less Jail Time- By taking a Plea agreement you will most likely not face any additional jail time other than what is mandatory by law.
- 2. Lower Fines- This is an attractive option if you do not have money to pay heavier fines and you know you are guilty of the DUI.
- 3. Getting Your Punishment Over Faster- Some people like to get the jail time and other punishment over as fast as possible. This agreement is a great means of accomplishing that goal.
- 4. Avoid Losing Your Driver’s License- The Virginia Code requires a suspended license, but by taking the plea agreement you may not lose your license for a longer period of time, which is very important if you need to get to work or school.
- 5. Possibly Receive a Lower Charge Instead of DUI- You may be able to plead guilty to reckless driving or a charge that does not carry the punishment of a DUI. This is more likely option if this is your first DUI.
These options would certainly help expedite your case and help you avoid greater penalties from trying to argue innocence. If you do decide to accept a plea agreement you will need to also realize that you are giving up rights, including:
- 1. You Cannot Plead “Not Guilty”- If you believe you are innocent of the crime then you do not want to take part in a plea agreement. To accept the plea means you will have to plead guilty or no contest. If you want the benefits of a plea agreement you may want to see if you can plead “no contest”, which means that you are not contesting the charges against you but you are not pleading guilty to those charges. This is an excellent way to avoid a guilty conviction being used against you in a subsequent civil lawsuit, for example, if someone was injured in the collision that caused your arrest.
- 2. No Testimony From Witnesses- You will not have a trial and you will not need any testimony from witnesses. You give up your right to argue innocence.
- 3. No Trial By Jury- No jury will be called to hear your case if you take the agreement and enter a plea.
- 4. No Appeal if the Judge Does Not Follow the Suggested Punishment in the Agreement– Remember that if a judge accepts your agreement he does NOT have to follow the suggested sentence agreed to by the attorneys. If you are later sentenced to a greater sentence your options for appeal are few if any. An attorney will better be able to address your options.
If you have a DUI you should contact an experienced DUI attorney to see if any options are available for your case.
THE STRONG LAW FIRM has substantial experience in figuring out complex accident claims to find the responsible party to pursue your right to compensation for your injuries following a traffic accident injury. Give us a call to review your traffic accident dilemma. We can make quick work of locating the responsible parties to recover the most you are entitled to receive against the driver and employer who caused the accident, to ensure you get the financial compensation you need to fully recover from your accident related injuries.
THE STRONG LAW FIRM handles DUIs, DWIs, car accidents, truck accidents and severe collision injury claims throughout Northern Virginia, Fairfax, Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria, Annandale, Ashburn, Sterling, Reston, McLean, Manassas, Woodbridge, and Loudoun County.
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