Will I Be Offered a Plea Bargain for My DUI Case?

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Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous. Intoxication diminishes a person’s ability to think rationally, impairs their vision, and affects their judgment and perception. The penalties for a DUI conviction are severe and many defendants choose to accept a plea bargain if they are offered one. If you are facing intoxicated driving charges in Tennessee and are wondering about your options speak with a skilled Memphis DUI defense lawyer to learn more about plea bargains and the best course of action for your case.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement where a defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution recommending a more lenient sentence. It can be mutually beneficial for both parties because it resolves the issue faster, lessening the prosecutor’s caseload and offering the defendant a lesser charge or sentence.

While it is impossible to tell the future and therefore prophesize what the outcome of a trial will be, the prosecutor can examine the information before them to estimate what a judge’s ruling would be. When drafting a plea bargain they will consider witness testimony, police reports, breathalyzer analysis, and more to come up with appropriate penalties for the defendant to be given.

A plea bargain can entail pleading guilty to a DUI charge but receiving a lesser sentence or pleading guilty to a lesser charge such as reckless driving. A lesser charge means that the defendant will be able to avoid having a DUI on their record and will face much less severe consequences.

Will I Be Offered a Deal?

The short answer to this question is maybe. Whether or not you are offered a plea bargain will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. Many DUI cases are resolved with a plea bargain as a matter of practicality.

Whether or not you choose to accept a plea bargain when it is offered is left up to you. Work with a trusted attorney to determine the best course of action during your case. You may wish to accept the deal and avoid the full extent of charges for a DUI conviction or you may wish to risk it by going to court and fighting your charges. It can be difficult to determine which path will result in the best outcome, especially because prosecutors are not required to turn over their evidence until a case goes to court.

What are the Penalties for a DUI in Tennessee?

Any DUI conviction can result in harsh consequences including the following.

  • Fines of $350 to $1,500
  • Jail time ranging from 48 hours to 11 months and 29 days
  • Restricted or revoked license for one year
  • Mandatory drug and alcohol education program
  • Restitution
  • Required use of an ignition interlock device for 6 months

The penalties for a second or subsequent offense can be even greater. Speak with an attorney about your chances of being offered a plea bargain to avoid the full extent of these punishments.