If you're facing a Pennsylvania DUI charge, the district attorney may offer you a plea bargain, especially if the case against you isn't particularly strong. While some Pennsylvania DUI charges should be taken to trial, a skillfully negotiated plea bargain may serve your best interests. An experienced Pennsylvania DUI defense attorney from Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. can help you determine whether negotiating a plea bargain is possible and whether it may be in your best interests.
A plea bargain in a Pennsylvania DUI case should benefit both you and the district attorney. In the right circumstances, you can be allowed to plead guilty to a reduced charge and/or receive less harsh repercussions in exchange for saving the district attorney and the Commonwealth the expense of taking your case to trial.
Pennsylvania has a unique three-tiered DUI law - your alleged blood alcohol content (BAC) and any prior convictions will determine the level of your driving under the influence charge and the punishment if you're convicted.
The three levels of Pennsylvania DUI charges are as follows:
- General impairment - .08 to .099 percent BAC
- High BAC - .10 to .159 percent BAC
- Highest BAC - .16 percent and greater
In some cases, the district attorney may offer a plea bargain that allows you to plead guilty to a less-serious Pennsylvania DUI charge. This is more likely to occur if the district attorney's case against you isn't especially strong, but is strong enough for some DUI related conviction.
There are several possible reduced charges that the district attorney may consider in negotiating a plea bargain in your Pennsylvania DUI case. You may be allowed to plead guilty to reckless driving, or reckless endangerment of another person, which carry significantly fewer consequences than a driving under the influence conviction. One advantage to a reckless driving plea is that it cannot be counted as a prior conviction if you are again arrested for DUI in the next 10 years.
Some accused Pennsylvania DUI drivers are allowed to plead guilty to exhibition of speed. This is a significantly less-serious charge than driving under the influence and carries fewer repercussions than reckless driving.
If the district attorney's case is particularly weak you may be allowed to plead guilty to a traffic infraction. Pleading guilty to a traffic infraction can provide an extremely favorable resolution to your driving under the influence case - you'll typically just pay a fine and won't have a criminal record.
Depending on the circumstances, considering a plea bargain may offer you a more favorable outcome than pursuing your case in court. An experienced Pennsylvania DUI lawyer from Zachary B. Cooper, Attorney at Law, P.C. will help you determine whether a plea bargain with negotiated repercussions offers the best outcome in your driving under the influence case.
If a trial is in your best interests, we will advise you of that, and we will never stop fighting unless or until you tell us to. You are always in control of the defense of your case. It is very important, however, to have an attorney that gives you all of your options under the circumstances presented. It is extremely critical that your attorney have the ability and knowledge to then proceed on your behalf, whether it be to seek outright dismissal of some or all of the charges, negotiate a plea, or proceed to trial. Please call us for a free consultation.