One of the most important part of any DWI case is plea bargaining. This is the type of legal work that is seldom featured on high stakes courtroom dramas on television, but that makes up the heart of the American criminal justice system. In fact, much more cases are resolved through a plea bargain than at the verdict of a jury or judge. According to sources, up to 95% of federal cases are resolved through a plea of guilty. Among state court cases, experts estimate that 90 to 95% are resolved through guilty pleas.
At the outset, it is important for anyone charged with a DWI to know what a plea bargain is and is not. A plea bargains should be just that – a bargain between the defendant and prosecution. The prosecution should not get everything they want in a plea, or else why do it? In exchange for a plea of guilty to DWI, the person accused should be getting something in return. It could be reduced charges, a plea in abeyance, or little or no jail time.
Why All the Bargaining?
There are many factors that go into why there are so many plea bargains. After all, it is the state’s duty to prove its case through an investigation, motions, and trial. Why should the defendant help the system by pleading guilty to a crime he is presumed innocent of committing? One of the factors is numbers. The criminal justice system simply could not move every case through all the steps a case requires to prove all the way to trial. Another reason is cost. It costs more for everyone when a case is taken all the way to trial.
Prosecutors are in a tough position because they have a duty to resolve a case, but do not have the resources to handle every case all the way to trial. That is one reason why most prosecutors are willing to deal, and make offers, so that they can resolve cases as soon as possible. A good defense attorney knows this, and will do everything he or she can to get the best possible result for a client in a plea deal.
Another factor that goes into plea deals is the judge overseeing the case. Just like prosecutors, judges are overworked with the number of cases they see everyday. While most judges are understanding of a defendant’s situation and rights to take a case to trial, it is often well received when an impossible case pleads early instead of going through all the hoops, and taking it to trial. It is just another factor that a good defense attorney will need to guide his client through.
Client Choice, Experienced Counsel
Remember, it is always the defendant’s choice as to whether a plea of guilty to a DWI. But this decision is best made with the help of experienced, intelligent legal counsel. At the Wilder Defense Firm we are comfortable recommending that a DWI defendant take his case to trial if needs be. Trial work is a large part of what we do in defending DWIs. But at the same time we are pragmatic and want to help our clients understand when they are getting a good deal and should plead guilty in exchange for a better outcome.
If you are charged with DWI in the Dallas, Texas area, contact us. We will give you a free case evaluation and help you understand what your legal rights are in your case. No matter what the counsel we give, we will stand by your decision and do everything we can to help you get the best outcome possible in your case.