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Kyle Simpson & Charles Gold - San Antonio DWI Defense Defense Lawyers
THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOUR TEXAS DWI LAWYER

San Antonio, Texas DWI Lawyers

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Do I Have to Take a Prosecutor’s Plea?

You do not have to accept the plea offer made by the prosecutor handling your case for the County or District Attorney’s office. There are two alternatives available for you to resolve your DWI charge:

1. You can waive your constitutional right to a trial by entering a plea of “Guilty” or “No Contest”. By entering either of these “pleas”, you are agreeing to have the judge find you guilty and assess punishment without having a jury trial.

(Or)

2. You can enter a plea of “Not Guilty” and request a trial by judge or jury.

What is a Plea Bargain?

Due to severe DWI penalties in Texas, you should strongly consider setting your DWI case for trial. Should you decide, however, after consultation with your attorney to enter a “plea” to your DWI, there are two ways you can do so. Before you begin the negotiation process, you need to be familiar with the punishment range associated with your DWI. For example, a DWI (first offense) is a Class B Misdemeanor with a punishment range of 30-180 days in a county jail and up to a $2000.00 fine. If convicted of a DWI (first offense), the punishment you receive will fall within this range. Once sentenced, the judge may “probate” the imposition of the sentence and place you on Community Supervision (Probation). If you are granted probation, you will not have to go to jail in most cases.

A “Plea Bargain Agreement” is essentially a contract between you and the prosecutor. In order to dispose of your case, the prosecutor may offer you a punishment somewhere within the appropriate range to encourage you to accept and enter into an agreement. When submitted to the court, this is called a “plea made pursuant to a plea bargain agreement.” Plea Bargain Agreements are made by defendants to eliminate risk. You may want to agree that probation will be granted in a case that you fear the judge would not otherwise grant it. You may want to agree to reduce the maximum amount of time in jail or prison that you will be exposed to. Although your plea bargain agreement is not binding on the court, you have the right to back out of it should the court not follow it.

You may also enter a plea of “guilty” or “no contest” to the court without a plea bargain agreement with the state. This is considered a plea not made pursuant to a plea bargain agreement, or an “open plea”. If the prosecutor is not willing to agree to the conditions you are requesting in your negotiations, you may enter an open plea and present your arguments to the judge. Under this type of plea, the court may choose to assess punishment anywhere in the appropriate punishment range.

Posted on August 22, 2013 in Articles

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