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Michigan DUI Plea Bargain Agreement

It is to everyone’s benefit to work out your drunk driving case without a trial. The question, of course, is whether or not this can be done in a way that is satisfactory to you. This will depend on many factors such as how important it may be for you to simply win your case, and also, how “defendable” your case really is when looked at objectively.

Information Used To Evaluate the Case

As has or will be explained in the initial interview with your attorney, there are three major parts of your OWI / DUI / DWI “puzzle”: 1) your side, 2) the police version, and 3) videotapes. If you took a breath or blood test, there is a fourth piece: the chemical test results and the maintenance history of the machine used in your case. Once information about each of these “pieces” is gathered, your attorney should put them together to see what type of a “picture” your drunk driving case presents.

In this portion of the representation, your attorney should carefully review the official charging documents of your case. Sometimes mistakes are made that may result in the complete dismissal of your case.

Your attorney should also meet with the prosecuting attorney assigned to your case to learn what the officer’s version of your case may be. Your attorney should gather all facts supporting your initial traffic stop, field sobriety testing, testing conditions, interrogation, chemical testing and videotaping. A really good DUI attorney will supply you with a written account of his her findings. This account should point out the positive and negative aspects of the prosecutor’s case.

Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is what happens when a prosecutor offers to reduce a charge in exchange for a plea of guilty. Statistically speaking, most drunk driving cases throughout the state of Michigan are resolved in this way. Plea bargains may be obtained in two ways: the prosecution may offer it or your defense attorney may ask for one. If the prosecution looks at your case and decides that you are eligible for a plea bargain, your lawyer may need to negotiate with them to reach a better deal.

Your attorney has an ethical obligation to discuss all possible plea bargain offers in your case. At the Barone Defense Firm, this is done as an “insurance policy” in your case. Whatever we negotiate will only one possible outcome of your case and change as your case proceeds through the system. We retrieve all videos of your arrest. In some cases, there are videos at the scene of your stop and videos at the jail where the breath test was administered. We will get copies of any and all videos taken of you during your arrest.

Different Pleas a Person Can Enter

At arraignment, in the beginning of the case, you have a choice of either pleading guilty or not guilty, or standing mute, in which case the judge or magistrate will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. At the beginning of the case, it’s important for people to know that the ultimate plea that happens at the end of the case, whether it be guilty, or not guilty, or no contest, is not what they’re asking at that moment. They’re just trying to make sure that the person is informed of their rights and the charges against them and setting bond conditions. So that’s the focus at that time.

There are plenty of judges out there who will take a guilty plea at the arraignment and then there is no opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor to try and reduce charges, it’s only sentencing that is left at that point in time. So I highly recommend anybody to not plead guilty at the arraignment, because the not guilty plea is kind of a legal pause button to stop the case at that time to at least enable someone to represent them who can negotiate with the prosecutor and try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. And that option is off the table if they’ve already pled guilty.

The only option then would be to try and get the judge to allow a withdrawal of that plea. There are many different pleas to reduce charges that may happen down the road, and to different types of offenses or civil infractions. So ultimately, you don’t have to necessarily plead guilty or not guilty to a specific charge of operating while intoxicated when something might be worked out that’s a very different type of charge down the road.

So there are so many different things that people have been able to accept responsibility for or plead guilty to when they were originally charged with some type of operating while intoxicated offense, so there’s many, many different things that they might plead to. And also if things are dismissed then they will not have to end up pleading to anything in that situation.

No contest pleas are available if there is either some kind of accident where somebody is afraid that they might be sued civilly for damages, or in a case where they just do not remember absolutely anything about the facts of the case and really can’t give a judge the factual basis necessary to, for the judge to be able to accept a guilty plea.

Role of the Attorney

After all of your information has been gathered, we will discuss our findings with you to review the evidence and discuss the options available for disposition of your case. We will review all reports, videotapes, and negotiations with you. We can tell you what to expect if you enter a plea bargain agreement and to some extent, we can identify your approximate chances of winning if you select a trial.

If you elect to “plead” your case, we will appear with you in Court before the judge. At that hearing, we will continue to negotiate your punishment in any way we can. We will appear before the judge sentencing and wherever possible, again try to obtain any further concessions to minimize your penalties. Our office will remain available throughout your probation to assist you in successfully completing all conditions ordered.

Is a Plea Bargain the Right Move?

A plea bargain can be a good option for your case if you want to avoid the risk of a guilty verdict at trial. If your OWI is reduced to a traffic violation, such as reckless or careless driving, you may avoid the jail time and court costs that come with a drunk-driving conviction. Your OWI can help you decide in the Michigan OWI plea bargain is the best option for your situation or if you should go to court to fight your case.