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    Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

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      Know and Protect Your Rights in a Criminal Defense Matter

          What Do Plea Offers Generally Look Like For First Time Offenders?

          If its a first time DUI, typically a plea offer in Alameda County would be two days of cleaning up on the side of the road less credit for the time that you already served on the day that you were originally arrested, restitution for any damage that may have been caused if there was a collision, a 3-month DUI school, if it’s not a high blood alcohol content, fines upward of $2000, as well as the requirement that an ignition interlock be placed in the vehicle installed at the expense of the client. In addition to that, there are typical alcohol terms where the client is not allowed to drive with any measurable amount of alcohol in their system, they are not allowed to drive unless properly licensed and insured, and not allowed to refuse a chemical test by a peace officer, including a preliminary alcohol screening test. This is important, because typically if you are not on probation, you are allowed to refuse the preliminary alcohol screening test. The Breathalyzer that they try to give you in the field, on the side of the road, can be refused unless you are on probation. Additionally, a first DUI offense typically comes with about 3 years of probation.

          For other misdemeanor offenses, a typical resolution for a first offense would include a deferred entry of judgment, where the client will enter a plea, but judgment on that plea is put over for a period of time, typically about 12 months but it could be less or more depending on the circumstances. They may be required to do some sort of community service, or attend a class, such as anger management, parenting, or AA. After they’ve completed that and successfully stayed out of trouble, if there are no new citations or arrests for that time period, say a year, then the matter gets put back on the calendar, and we go to court and it gets dismissed. (It is important to note that if you fail your DEOJ term you will automatically be convicted of the underlying offense that was deferred so you will want to make sure you’re able to stay out of trouble and complete the conditions of your DEOJ to successfully secure your dismissal).

          In addition to DEOJ, there are pre-plea deferred prosecution options, civil compromises, and PES programs that allow the client to earn a dismissal in a shorter period of time without risking an automatic conviction if there is some failure to complete the terms of the agreement. Rather than entering a plea that gets deferred, there is no plea entered and the matter is continued for about 60 to 90 days. During that time the client has an opportunity to meet certain conditions, like a attend Narcotics Anonymous class or AA or complete community service. As long as they complete their classes when they come back to the court, the matter gets dismissed. If they fail or they mess up, they just start back right at square one. They will not be automatically convicted like in a deferred entry of judgment. These are the more appealing options.

          There are countless ways that a criminal case can be resolved for first time offenders and the outcome will depend on several factors including the client’s goals, the evidence, and the analysis of the issues.

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