In Washington, a DUI or Physical Control of a Vehicle conviction can be very detrimental to your life. Even a first time offender with a clean driving record can be sentenced to up to 364 days of incarceration, a fine of $5,000 and 90 days of license suspension in addition to other penalties like probation and alcohol or drug treatment. A DUI conviction will also appear to employers, banks and schools during background checks. It will cause your insurance rates to go up and can even prevent you from crossing the border into Canada. Luckily, there are attorneys like Steve Karimi who will stop at nothing to fight for your innocence. If you have been accused of being in physical control of a vehicle or driving under the influence in Seattle, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi today.
What Is A Plea Agreement?
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense in Seattle, there is good news. An experienced DUI lawyer can help you fight your charges and avoid penalties of a conviction. DUI attorneys like Steve Karimi know how to help their clients get the best results in their cases. This includes building strong defenses. When you have a strong defense, your charges will be harder to prove and the prosecution will be less likely to want to take your case to trial. In these situations, you may be offered something called a plea bargain or plea agreement.
One of the ways that your lawyer can help is by arranging a plea agreement with the prosecutor of your case. A plea agreement is a deal that your attorney can make with the prosecutor in which you agree to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for having your charges dropped to a lesser or related offense. According RCW 9.94A.421, the prosecutor can agree to any of the following in a plea agreement:
(1) Move for dismissal of other charges or counts;
(2) Recommend a particular sentence within the sentence range applicable to the offense or offenses to which the offender pled guilty;
(3) Recommend a particular sentence outside of the sentence range;
(4) Agree to file a particular charge or count;
(5) Agree not to file other charges or counts; or
(6) Make any other promise to the defendant, except that in no instance may the prosecutor agree not to allege prior convictions.
All plea agreements are subject to approval by a judge and, in some cases, may not be accepted. In many cases, your attorney can work to reach an agreement that satisfies all parties, however. Still, plea agreements are not a right and are something that your attorney will be tasked with negotiating. Your strongest chance of getting a plea bargain is to hire an experience DUI lawyer to work on your behalf.
Seattle DUI Plea Bargains
In DUI cases plea agreements are a great tool for avoiding the most negative consequences. Prosecutors do not want to prepare for trials for everyone arrested for DUI and, therefore, are often looking to reduce their caseload by offering deals that allow the offender to receive some punishment but not enough that their life will be seriously impacted. One charge that DUI cases are commonly reduced to in a plea agreement is reckless driving. For example, you are charged with DUI but offered a plea bargain so that you can plead guilty to reckless driving instead. In most situations reckless driving is not as serious of a charge as DUI. Reckless driving charges result in a maximum of 30 days of license suspension while a DUI conviction can lead to 90 days of suspension or more if you refused a sobriety test.
In most circumstances, plea agreements are beneficial to all parties involved. Prosecutors get to avoid preparing for trial and will not have to risk losing in court and you will save time and stress knowing what your sentence will be before you agree to anything. You will not be eligible for a plea agreement if you plead guilty at your arraignment. Plea agreements are one example of why you should always speak to a lawyer as soon as you are accused of DUI.
Getting a Plea Agreement in Seattle
Though plea agreements are a common occurrence, you are not guaranteed to be offered one. Your best chance at getting a plea agreement is to hire a defense lawyer who deals with DUI cases on a regular basis. These attorneys work with prosecutors regularly and understand what it takes to get their clients the best deals. Attorney Steve Karimi is a former prosecutor who will fight hard to get you the very best plea agreement offers. He is a caring and knowledgeable lawyer who works with DUI clients just like you every day. For more information about how attorney Steve Karimi can help you, call The Law Offices of Steve Karimi for a free consultation.