Drivers charged with a DUI in California generally have to decide whether to submit a guilty plea. Plea bargains involve an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor. The defendant submits a guilty plea in exchange for lesser charges. If there is any question to the validity of the charges, however, a guilty plea eliminates any chance that the defendant could appeal the case. How can someone choose between taking his or her chances and choosing a plea bargain? The answer takes careful deliberation.

According to California’s Administration Per Se license suspension, to submit a BAC test with no past DUIs (in 10 years) results in a four-month license suspension. Mitigating circumstances decrease the likelihood of a worse sentence. For instance, with no prior charges or a BAC close to the limit, drivers may receive reduced charges. Prosecutors may offer a fair deal to the defendant, lessening the charge to wet reckless driving. Once sentenced, however, the defendant has no other recourse but to accept the sentence. The agreement implies that the defendant invites any potential errors with a plea deal. The case ends with the plea agreement and sentencing.

Is the plea worth sacrificing his or her rights? The answer to the question depends heavily on the circumstances surrounding the case. The Insurance Information Institute suggests campaigns target impaired drivers between 21 and 34 years of age, under the age of 21 and repeat offenders. A guilty plea surrenders most rights before and after the trial. With an arrest rate of one out of every 215 drivers, over 1,000,000 drivers have a tough decision to make.