Oklahoma prosecutors file thousands of charges each year. But only a small number of cases go to trial. Sometimes the better choice for an accused person is to take a plea deal rather than go to trial. Tulsa DUI and criminal defense attorney Stephen Cale gives 4 reasons you may want to take a plea deal in your DUI, DWI, or APC case.
The following is for educational purposes only, is not legal advice, and does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, call the Cale Law Office at 918-277-4800 for a free initial consultation. Or, contact us through the web.
What is a Plea Deal, or Plea Bargain?
A plea deal, or plea bargain, is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor. It settles the outcome of the charges in exchange for the defendant pleading guilty or no contest. In some instances, a defendant may enter an Alford plea or blind plea.
Typically, the prosecutor will make an offer. The defendant’s attorney will review the offer with his client. Then, a defense attorney may make a counter-offer, working to get a better deal for his client. However, in the end, the defendant decides whether to accept the prosecution’s final offer.
So, let’s take a look at 4 reasons you may want to take a plea deal in your DUI, DWI, APC or other criminal case.
1. Reduced Charge | Lesser Consequences
Sometimes a defense attorney can negotiate a reduction in a charge. While it’s not always the case, a reduced charge may have softer consequences than the original charge. For example, a deal on an Actual Physical Control (APC) plea would require payment of fines, mandatory DUI school and a drug and alcohol assessment. But a charge reduced to public intoxication would require a minor fine and no mandatory DUI school or drug and alcohol assessment.
2. Probation | No Jail or Prison Time
Most of the time, a plea deal for a DUI, DWI, APC, or other criminal charge entails no jail or prison time. Instead, the defendant remains free, but on probation. There will be certain terms of the plea deal that the defendant will have to abide by while on probation. Some typical terms of probation include obeying all city, state, federal and tribal laws and paying fines and court costs within a certain period of time.
3. Financial Savings
Depending on the type of charge and the complexity of the case, going to trial may cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Criminal defense attorneys spend a lot of time working on pre-trial motions, trial preparation and the actual trial. And, going to trial can rack up other costs, like witness fees and expert testimony, for example.
4. Dismissal and Expungement of the Case After Probation
With some good negotiation, a prosecutor might agree to a deferred sentence. This allows a person to be on probation. But the great thing about a deferred sentence is that it’s not a conviction. This is different from a suspended sentence, which still puts a person on probation but with a criminal conviction.
When the time for probation on a deferred sentence ends, the charge will be dismissed. Also, the defendant can seek an expungement of the case. That means that, with some exceptions, the case is “erased.”
Should You Take a Plea Deal or Fight the Charge?
Whether you should take a deal or fight the charge depends on a number of factors. Each case has its own set of facts and defense strengths and weaknesses. But no matter what you want to do, you should hire an experienced criminal defense attorney like Stephen Cale. Since 1999, he has represented numerous clients facing misdemeanors and felony charges.
At the Cale Law Office, our mission is to achieve the best possible results for our clients through hard work, attention to detail, and aggressive representation. This is done while maintaining the highest level of professionalism, integrity, and ethical standards.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call the Cale Law Office at 918-277-4800. Or, contact us through the web. Your initial consultation is free. Serving clients throughout Northeastern Oklahoma, including Tulsa, Washington, Nowata, Rogers, Craig, Okmulgee, Creek, Pawnee and Osage counties.
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