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The answer as to whether to plead guilty in a DUI case is one that should be answered after consulting with your attorney, reviewing all available evidence and figuring out what is best for you under the circumstances of your particular case. This is where honesty and straight forwardness should rule the day. It is not time to talk about DUI defenses that have no applicability to your situation. I always laugh when clients call me rambling about a defense they heard from another attorney and I ask them if their case has the facts to support that defense and they quickly realize that they were just talking to a salesperson with a script on the other end of the line who says the same thing to everyone that calls, regardless of their situation.
First, you should not plead guilty if you are innocent of the charges. Next, you should not plead guilty if the police and prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence to conviction. The only way to assess this is to have all of the evidence that the prosecutors have in front of you and discuss that evidence with a seasoned DUI defense attorney who is looking out for your best interests. If the prosecutors have the evidence to conviction you, then you should instruct your attorney to negotiate the best deal possible for you.
I always cringe when I see or hear attorney touting by attorneys that a person should not plead guilty when they know absolutely nothing about that person’s case. This to me is simply an advertising ploy to peak the viewer’s curiosity and try and sell them on the attorney. The problem with this strategy is that the client then goes into the representation thinking that the subject attorney is going to get them off of the DUI. The problem with this belief is that is not based in any facts, evidence or reality. This is a bad way to start a relationship and one I will not engage in. If you see and hear people promising you things with no basis to do so, run for the hills. Let your common sense be your guide and you will make the right decisions related to you DUI case.
Before you decide whether to plead guilty or not, you better see what evidence the government has against you and get a full explanation from an attorney who has been down the road you are about to travel and seen the pitfalls along the way. Attorneys who are already saying you are innocent and should fight your case, before knowing anything about your situation, should simply not be trusted. As much as you love to hear that you can win, after the police have arrested and rough you up, it is not right if it is being said just to get your money.
The fact is that most DUI cases that are filed in Los Angeles County are resolve by way of a plead bargain. So those attorneys who are making it sound like they are winning cases left and right are not telling the truth. Ask then to see their last ten DUI jury trial wins (they are all a matter of public record) and watch their facings drop.
If a cases is winnable then a solid DUI defense attorney should be able to win it. If, on the other hand, the authorities have the goods on the client, then it is not fair to take money from them under the pretenses that the case can be won, if it simply can not. Just because a case can not be completely won, there are other things that can be done to help the client. These things include negotiating lessor charges and minimizing the punishment a person must face. In order to properly evaluate this, your attorney needs all of the evidence available and then a conversation with you.
I make it a point to meet with the client and give them the straight forward skinny on their case right from the beginning. This way when they hire me, we are both on the same page and the client has a feel for what is realistic in their case right from them beginning. No one wants to be surprised in a criminal defense case. And, certainly no one wants to be told one thing in the beginning of the case, only to have the rug snatched out from under them later on.