Can I get a plea bargain to reduce DUI charges?

Though it is commonly known that a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent can result in a DUI/OUI conviction in Massachusetts, what is perhaps not known is that the BAC for commercial drivers is only 0.04 percent. If a driver has gotten behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol, they face the possibility that severe penalties can be levied against them, depending on whether they have faced drunk driving charges before.

When someone is facing drunk driving charges in Massachusetts, the first conviction carries jail time, fines, license suspension and mandatory treatment programs, as mentioned previously. It may be possible for a defendant to plead for a lesser offense through a plea bargain. The prosecutor and the defendant may be able to negotiate for a reduction in charges-from a DUI/OUI to a reckless driving involving alcohol charge. This could reduce the penalties associated with the charge. However, there is no statutory provision guiding plea bargains in this area, which leaves it on the criminal defense's shoulder to create a bargain for the defendant. If there have been previous offenses, however, the possibility of a bargain is much less.

In addition to this, if someone is injured or killed in an accident involving a drunk driver, the situation can get very complicated very fast. Depending on the circumstances, it is possible to serve from 6 months to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections or 6 months to 10 years in the state prison. Again, it may be possible for the defendant to negotiate to a lesser charge and lesser penalties, but there is often a lot of public pressure in drunk driving accident cases and the prosecutor may decline.

It is important to know that there are many options to fight a drunk driving charge, from going through a criminal trial to negotiating a lighter sentence. It may be beneficial to consult an experienced defense attorney to understand what each option can mean for you.

Source: Good Herald, "Punishments In Massachusetts For Driving Under The Influence," Ayat Ahadi, June 5, 2017

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