Fort Lauderdale DUI Lawyer William Moore is extremely familiar with the plea bargaining process, which is shrouded in mystery for most lay people. The vast majority of criminal cases in Broward County do not go to trial. In some instances, the charges are dismissed. Most of the time, however, the prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney on the case negotiate until they reach an agreement that is as favorable as possible to both sides – a plea bargain.
Plea bargaining for DUI and other offenses in Broward County can take many forms. Your Broward DUI lawyer might persuade the state attorney to file reduced charges. For instance, you might agree to plead guilty to reckless driving instead of DUI. Your attorney could also bargain for fewer counts in return for a plea bargain on one of them. The form of plea bargaining that the public is probably most familiar with is for sentencing. In these cases, your attorney negotiates your sentence down with the prosecutor. In exchange for a guilty plea, you can agree to an acceptable sentence. For example, you might agree to a plea bargain if the prosecution has a very strong DUI case and, if you go to trial and are found guilty, it will be your third DUI conviction. A skilled Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney might negotiate a plea deal with the prosecutor in order to avoid jail time.
One study estimated that approximately 95 percent of felony cases in the United States end in plea bargains. Fewer and fewer cases go to trial, in part due to the increasingly full calendars of judges. Likewise, state attorneys often have full caseloads, a factor which makes resolution by plea bargain an attractive option from their point of view. A plea bargain is often most advantageous when the state has a strong case against the defendant (person charged with the DUI or other crime) and the sentence for that crime may be severe. The risk and uncertainty of going to trial may seem too great.
Critics of the high percentage Broward plea bargains include some DUI attorneys. There is always the problem that some innocent people might elect a plea bargain to avoid a trial outcome that is even more negative. For instance, an innocent person might accept a plea bargain to avoid any jail time, despite the fact that the plea would mar her criminal record. The weaker the state’s case is – and the less evidence it has – the more likely it is that the prosecutor will offer the innocent person an attractive deal. Rather than face the risk of a jury trial, she may well opt for a good deal from the prosecutor – or at least what would have been a good deal, if she had been guilty. Another problem is that there appears to be a racial divide in Florida in terms of which defendants are offered plea deals by prosecutors.
Fort Lauderdale DUI attorney William Moore has negotiated hundreds of plea deals. If you have been charged with DUI in south Florida, contact William Moore Criminal Defense, P.A., which has experienced Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyers with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.
This article should be used for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.