A plea bargain is an agreement between you and the prosecutor that must be approved by the judge. The terms of a plea bargain depend on the circumstances of your case including driving and criminal record, whether you have any previous DWI arrests and whether or not you have valid defenses to your DWI charges.
A DWI Plea Bargain will usually involve one or more of the following:
- Suspended Imposition of Sentence (SIS): In this case you waive your right to a trial and plead guilty to a DWI, however the conviction is not entered into your criminal record. The plea bargain stays on file for the duration of your probation, and if you meet all the terms of your probation (which usually include some of the items listed below) the charges will be dropped and the case will be closed. If you do not meet the terms of your probation you will be sentenced for the DWI conviction.
- Plead Guilty to a Lesser Charge: If this is your first DWI you may be able to plead guilty to a lesser offense, such as reckless or indifferent driving. This allows you to avoid an alcohol-related offense on your record.
- Substance Abuse Traffic Offender Program (SATOP): Most plea bargains require you to complete SATOP. This involves an evaluation and a class and usually costs a few hundred dollars.
- Vehicle Ignition Interlock Devices: The court may order you to install an ignition interlock device as part of the terms of your probation. You must blow into this device to start your car and periodically when you are driving. If the device detects alcohol the court will be notified.
- Fines: Almost all plea bargains include payment of a fine. The amount of the fine will be determined by the facts and circumstances of each individual case and whether or not you have any previous DWI convictions.