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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26448
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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My attorney thinks I should take the plea bargain from the

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My attorney thinks I should take the plea bargain from the prosecuter (guilty to DWI, class A misdemeanor, 18 months probation) and advised against going to trial. My attorney said "honestly, I could take your money,go to trial but the outcome would be the same based on the facts of my case". I said I appreciated their honesty and the fact they aren't trying to make money off me. This is my 1st DWI, 1st time I've ever been arrested and I'm in my mid 50's. The fact this charge will be permanently on my record worries me greatly. I worry about limited future job prospects with this on my record. My attorney says many people have1 DWI on their record and still are able to find jobs, the important thing is not to make the same mistake again. I don't plan to. I have quit drinking because of this ordeal and now see it's not worth the incedibly harsh penalties. I'd appreciate your opinions. Thank you...


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a criminal attorney.

A big reason criminal lawyers go into this area of law is to be able to try cases. A criminal lawyer doesn't personally care whether you go to trial on a case or resolve it through a plea bargain. He'll get paid one way or the other, and at the end of the day, he'll go home and sleep in his own bed, regardless of what his client decides and how it works out.

However, it's a lawyer's professional obligation to tell his client about the up and down sides of his case and all of the potential risks that would flow from a trial. He is also required to convey every plea offer that the DA makes and explain the up and down sides of those as well so that his client can be completely informed before he chooses whether to go to trial or to accept a plea.

If you were actually driving while intoxicated, you can expect that the state would probably be able to prove it against you. If you were not and want to roll the dice and let a jury decide what happened, you will not get probation upon conviction. So you're balancing a sure non-incarceratory sentence against the possibility of a conviction and a year of jail. In the worst case scenario, either way will give you a criminal record.

Unfortunately, the penalties for DWI are pretty well defined and there is not enough room for much negotiation. If the state is unwilling to dismiss the charge (unlikely if they have a BAC for you and it is not a borderline reading), then about the only thing your lawyer can do to get this off of your record would be if you could get the charge reduced or a deferred adjudication.

Unfortunately, the only misdemeanor that cannot be deferred under Texas law is a DWI misdemeanor. Though there are those in the legislature actively trying to change that, so far, the proposal has been shot down each time. Similarly, the charge can't be bargained away and converted to a reckless driving charge, which could be deferred. Texas will not allow this.

So the probation vs. trial choice is the only choice you're going to have and you will not be able to avoid a criminal record. If your lawyer feels your case does not have good trial potential, he is probably right. It is, however, entirely your call, and if you choose trial, he's obligated to mount the best defense he can for you.

I wish you the best of luck with this.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you.. your thoughts are greatly appreciated and will help me with my decision.

Pleased to have been of help.

Good luck with this.
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