Should You Plead Guilty?
Generally speaking, if this is your first DUI or DWI charge in the state of Washington, you may want to avoid pleading guilty at your first court appearance, called arraignment. In arraignment, you may have the opportunity to deliver a plea and the judge may read you all the maximum penalties. You may want to plea not guilty because, in doing so, you may keep your options wide open for later on and preserve all your rights. As an individual who is being charged with DUI for the first time, you are likely very unfamiliar with the process. Therefore, as a general rule of thumb, you may never want to plead guilty without fully understanding all of the consequences. However, you should keep in mind that, ideally, you may want to get an experienced Washington DUI attorney before even appearing in court at all.
Consequences of Pleading Guilty
On the other hand, if you choose to plead guilty at your first court appearance, you may automatically lose the option to figure out whether there are any possible legal defenses to a DUI charge.
Unfortunately, many individuals choose to plead guilty at their first court appearance because they are under the perception that a not guilty plea may look bad for them or be somehow frowned upon by the judge. However, as the judge should understand, you have every legal right to plead not guilty to a DUI charge in the state of Washington. By choosing to plead not guilty, you may be forcing the prosecution to actually prove their DUI charges rather than just accuse you and hope you admit to it. In many cases, the judge himself may encourage a not guilty plea in the interest of being fair and allowing the defendant to evaluate any and all options available.
Experienced Washington DUI Lawyer
Even at these early stages in a DUI/DWI charge it may be best to have a Washington DUI attorney retained to assist you. In many cases, an experienced DUI attorney may waive your first court appearance altogether since you would have just plead not guilty anyway. In these cases, your case may be scheduled for pretrial. At pre-trial, the prosecutors may discuss possible resolutions with you. This is where having a lawyer is absolutely essential.
A DUI is a charge that could affect you for the rest of your life, even if this is your first one. That’s why having a skilled Washington DUI lawyer by your side may be so essential. At Murphy’s Law Offices, we have been practicing DUI law in Washington for many years.
Contact Dan Murphy’s Law Offices today for a free consultation.
Call today — (253) 312-6122 — your future may depend on it.