Driving under the influence is one of those rare criminal offenses that otherwise law abiding citizens frequently end up being charged with as a result of a momentary lapse in judgment. If you fall into that category, and are now facing charges for driving under the influence (DUI), you probably just want the whole thing to go away. You can count on the prosecuting attorney knowing that is how you feel which is why they often offer first-time DUI defendants a probation only plea agreement very early on in the process. With a probation only plea agreement, you are assured of not being sentenced to any additional time in jail. Knowing you are not going back to jail, why shouldn’t you take the probation only DUI plea agreement offered to you by the prosecutor? You may ultimately decide that the plea agreement offered to you is in your best interest; however, there are several things you should consider before accepting any plea agreement.
Do You Really Understand the Terms of the Plea Agreement?
If you are not represented by an attorney at the time the prosecuting attorney offers you a plea agreement, you are basically relying on the prosecutor to explain the plea and give you advice. Remember, though, the prosecutor is the person who is trying to convict you. The prosecutor in under no obligation to assist you in any way. While it may be true that the terms of the plea agreement offered to you do not require you to return to jail, what the prosecutor is likely leaving out is that the plea agreement does actually sentence you to a term of imprisonment. That term of imprisonment is then suspended and you are allows to serve that time on probation; however, if you violate any of the terms of your probation you have a lengthy jail sentence (usually a year or more) that was originally suspended but that could be reinstated. The prosecutor is also unlikely to stress all of the fees, fines, and costs associated with accepting a guilty plea nor will the prosecutor likely hammer home the impact the conviction will have on your driving privileges. At the end of the day, you could be signing an agreement that you really do not understand and that failure to understand could be costly down the road.
The True Price of Accepting a DUI Plea Agreement
Aside from the hidden terms and conditions of the actual plea agreement you sign, there are a number of other repercussion of accepting a DUI guilty plea agreement of which you may be unaware. These non-judicial consequences can be as serious, if not more serious, than the judicial sentence handed down by the judge. Some of the common short and long-term negative consequences of a DUI conviction may include:
- A requirement that you install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle in order to be able to drive.
- Dramatically increased insurance rates for several years after your conviction. Some people face rates at much as 300 percent higher after a DUI conviction.
- Professional disciplinary action if you hold a license such as a doctor, lawyer, school teacher, or nurse.
- Disqualification for a change of status if you are a foreign born national.
- Loss of visitation privileges or negative impact on custody of minor children.
Consulting with an Experienced Nebraska DUI Attorney
Although you may want the entire mess to just go away, don’t make the mistake of accepting the first offer handed to you by the State. Consult with an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney first. Although the police and the prosecutor often make it sound as if a conviction is a foregone conclusion, it may not be. You might have a defense that could avoid a conviction altogether. Even if a conviction is imminent, your attorney might be able to negotiate better terms for that agreement.
If you have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) in the State of Nebraska, and the prosecuting attorney has offered you a guilty plea agreement, contact an experienced Nebraska DUI attorney at Petersen Law Office 24 hours a day at 402-513-2180 to discuss your case with an experienced DUI defense lawyer