Will Your DUI Case Go to Trial?

Although every DUI case has the potential to go to trial, most are resolved through plea bargains. There are many factors that help determine the best way to proceed with a case, but ultimately, it is up to the defendant to choose whether to bring the case before a judge or jury or accept a plea bargain.

DUI Trials and Plea Bargains

More than 98 percent of defendants settle for plea bargains that eliminate the time, expense, and uncertainty of a jury trial. A plea bargain is an arrangement made between the prosecutor and the defense attorney that the defendant will plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a reduced sentence. If a plea bargain is accepted by the defendant, the penalty for the DUI offense is agreed upon by all parties.

Once the defendant pleads guilty to the DUI charge, there is no jury trial. A conviction results and guilt is established immediately. The conviction will show up on the defendant’s record, and he/she will face appropriate penalties for the DUI offense. Prosecutors often negotiate plea bargains rather than going to trial. Plea deals benefit the court system by reducing court costs and providing fast resolutions to the case. However, the defendant is deprived of his/her chance of getting a not guilty verdict through a jury trial. In addition, cases that involve plea deals are difficult to reopen if a new trial is requested. Most prosecutors fight to uphold plea deal convictions.  

Accepting a Plea Bargain

In many DUI cases, a plea bargain is the best option, especially if there is overwhelming evidence of the defendant’s guilt. While a DUI attorney will provide criminal defense, there’s still a chance that the defendant may be found guilty by a jury and sentenced to harsher penalties. A plea bargain allows the defense attorney to negotiate either a lesser charge, a reduced sentence, or both.

Before a case goes to trial, a settlement conference will be set to discuss a plea bargain agreement. It’s essential that the DUI attorney handling the defense explains the pros and cons of accepting a plea bargain. In most cases, if the DUI case goes to trial and the defendant loses his/her case, the judge can impose the maximum penalty. A Minnesota DUI conviction can result in large monetary fines, loss of driving privileges, and jail time.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.