Dealing with a Deserved DUI: Don't Just Plead Guilty

Being arrested for driving under the influence can be a much-needed wake-up call. While the penalties for a DUI differ depending on which state you're in, there's one thing that every state law has in common: repeated offenses carry harsher penalties, often turning from a misdemeanor into a felony.

But if you (or someone you know) was arrested for a DUI, it's crucial to remember that there's still a difference between being guilty and pleading guilty. Having an attorney on your side can mean working out a much more favorable deal—one that allows you to work on your drinking problem rather than spend time in jail.

What You Have to Be Willing to Do

Most likely, what the prosecutor and your attorney will negotiate is for you to attend a voluntary rehabilitation clinic. By showing that you're interested in voluntary rehab, you're demonstrating to the court that you understand the seriousness of driving under the influence and that you are willing to work to see that it doesn't happen again.

Voluntary rehab has another advantage, which is that you may be able to negotiate where you undergo your rehab. Since some people, for example, dislike mention of religion in their rehab programs while others find spirituality an important part of improving themselves, being able to make this choice for yourself can improve your chances of a successful outcome. And being able to choose an outpatient rehab can be very important if you're employed.

What You May Get in Return

Just as different states have different DUI laws, they also give prosecutors different amounts of leeway when it comes to bargaining. It's very common to have a reduction in jail time and fines in exchange for going through a rehab program. Your attorney will work to get you the greatest reduction possible—ideally having your rehab stand in place of jail time.

First-time offenders in some states may even be able to avoid a criminal record and have their case removed from the criminal justice system completely. If your attorney can negotiate this for you, it's important to remember that you may still be prosecuted in the future; if you are arrested for another DUI, it's very likely that you will be prosecuted for both that charge and the original DUI.

The Most Important Thing to Keep in Mind

Spending time in jail is unlikely to help you with your alcohol problem; rehab, on the other hand, can. So hiring an attorney doesn't mean that you're trying to escape the consequences of your actions, and you certainly shouldn't feel guilty about trying to get the best deal possible. Instead, these negotiations mean trying to do all you can to ensure that you don't end up behind the wheel while under the influence in the future.

Contact an attorney, such as H Edward Andrews III, as soon as possible to receive the legal help you need.