Can I Get a Plea Bargain in My South Carolina DUI Case?

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If you have been charged with driving while under the influence (DUI), you may be wondering what options there are to resolve the charges without a trial. A DUI charge can be lowered or missed in some situations through plea negotiations. However, this isn’t always an option. Many DUI plea bargains in South Carolina involve a defendant pleading guilty to a reduced offense that carries lesser penalties while avoiding the costs and uncertainty associated with a trial. Please continue reading to learn when a plea deal may be reached in a DUI case and why connecting with a determined Chesterfield County DUI Lawyer is in your best interest. 

What is a Plea Bargain?

In the U.S., plea bargains are a common way to resolve criminal cases, including some DUI offenses. Prosecutors often offer plea deals because they lack the resources to take every case to trial. Defendants also have a strong motivation to accept plea deals as they can help avoid the uncertainty of a trial.

In simple terms, a plea bargain is an agreement struck between a prosecutor and defendant in which the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charges or lower the sentence in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea. If a plea bargain is accepted, the terms of the agreement must be presented to the court. If a judge approves the terms, the defendant will plead guilty to a reduced charge and be subject to penalties for the lesser offense. Prosecutors can agree to lesser penalties, such as no jail time, limited probation, or decreased driver’s license suspension period.

Can You Get a DUI Reduced to a Lesser Charge?

Ultimately, whether or not you can negotiate a plea bargain depends on the specific circumstances. It’s important to understand that the prosecutor is not obligated to offer you any plea. If you don’t have any prior DUI convictions, a relatively low BAC reading, and no accident involved, then the prosecutor is more likely to offer you a plea negotiation. If a plea negotiation is reached, the only option for a reduced charge is an ordinary reckless driving charge.

Given the high stakes of a DUI conviction, it’s in your best interest to consult an experienced Chesterfield County DUI lawyer, who can help you determine the best course of action. There are advantages and drawbacks to accepting a plea bargain. For some defendants, they may be better off undergoing a trial, especially if the prosecution case is weak.

At The Cockrell Law Firm, P.C., we are prepared to help you fight the charges raised against you. Please don’t hesitate to contact our legal team today to learn how we can assist you during these challenging times.