The answer as to whether to plead guilty in a DUI case 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 straightforwardness 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 reason. They quickly realize that they are talking to a salesperson with a script on the other end of the line which 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 claim guilty if the police and prosecutors do not have sufficient evidence to convict.
The only way to assess this is to have all of the prosecutors' evidence before you and discuss that evidence with a seasoned DUI defense attorney looking out for your best interests. If the prosecutors have the evidence to convict you, you should instruct your attorney to negotiate the best deal possible.
I always cringe when I see or hear attorneys touting 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 pique the viewer's curiosity and try and sell them to the attorney.
The problem with this strategy is that the client then goes into the representation thinking that the subject attorney will get them off of the DUI. The problem with this belief is that it is not based on any facts, evidence, or reality. This is the wrong way to start a relationship that I will not engage in. If you see and hear people promising you things with no basis, run for the hills. Let your common sense be your guide, and you will make the right decisions related to your DUI case.
Evidence vs. Defending A 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 see the pitfalls along the way.
Attorneys who are already saying you are innocent and should fight your case should not be trusted before knowing anything about your situation. As much as you love to hear that you can win after the police have arrested and roughed you up, it is not suitable if it is being said to get your money.
DUI Plea Bargain in LA County
The fact is that most DUI cases that are filed in Los Angeles County are resolved by way of a plea bargain. So those attorneys making it sound like they are winning cases left and right are not telling the truth. Ask them to see their last ten DUI jury trial wins (they are a matter of public record) and watch their facings drop.
If a case is winnable, then a solid DUI defense attorney should 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 won entirely, other things can help the client. These things include negotiating lesser charges and minimizing the punishment a person must face. Your attorney needs all of the evidence available and then a conversation with you to properly evaluate this.
I make it a point to meet with the client and give them the straightforward 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 the beginning.
No one wants to be surprised in a criminal defense case. And indeed, no one wants to be told one thing at the beginning of the case, only to have the rug snatched out from under them later on.