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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27435
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I ran out of gas, truck was parked in street and i got out

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I ran out of gas, truck was parked in street and i got out and headed toward my house.. Sheriff drove by a minute later saw me and the truck and i had been drinking. I was arrested and most likely admitted that i had been driving but he did not actually see me driving. I plead guilty at initial hearing but am now wondering if I may be able to get out of charge because he had no proof of me driving other than my word. Could I say my friend was driving or i was confused or something when I admitted to driving and get the charge dropped? Help please thanks
Chad Shanks

No you can't lie to the court. In fact, you don't have to say anything at all. You are not the one who had to prove that you weren't drinking and driving. The prosecutor has to prove that you were and to do so beyond a reasonable doubt. Anything you say to anyone but an attorney about this incident can be used against you. You've already said too much but an attorney might be able to negate that if you keep quiet and don't compound it.

Driving while under the influence is not a traffic violation. It is a misdemeanor and can give you a criminal record. The best thing you can do for yourself here is to get a lawyer. He can bargain this down or get it dismissed if the case looks as weak as you think it may or fight this with you all the way to trial.

If you have the funds to retain counsel, have him with you at your arraignment. If you cannot afford a lawyer, plead not guilty at your arraignment and ask the judge for a public defender.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I at first didn't think about fighting it.. I already plead guilty at my arraignment so i would have to withdraw the plea. I hired an attorney for sentencing, but they will charge me 1250 more to even look if i may be able to change plea and fight it. Should i pay them and try or if I already admitted to the cop that i was driving drunk would i be wasting my time and money trying to fight it?

Hi Chad,

You have a Constitutional right to plead not guilty and make the state prove the charges against you beyond a reasonable doubt. This is one of our most important fundamental rights. You don't have to incriminate yourself. Even if you know that you're going to take a plea eventually, it is very unwise to plead guilty until you know exactly what the state is willing to give you for that plea. Once you've pled guilty up front without any understanding between you and the prosecutor, the state is holding all the cards and they don't have to be generous.

You're hiring a lawyer anyway, because now he has to argue your sentence to keep it reasonable. If you'd hired him in the first place, you'd be in a much better bargaining position now. You can always take back a not guilty plea but it's almost impossible to withdraw a plea once taken.

Talk to the lawyer that you hired and see if he thinks he can get you a better disposition by trying to get plea back because you didn't understand the system. If he tells you that it's too late for that now, he's probably right, since you not only admitted your guilt to the cops but also to the court. But definitely see what they have to say and also talk to him about whether or not you can get this expunged eventually so that you don't have to keep it on your record.

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