How do I know if I qualify for this type of claim?
No. You should NEVER just immediately plead guilty to DUI – even if you were driving impaired.
Pleading not guilty has nothing to do with your actual innocence.
Once a DUI charge has been brought against you, whether you actually drove impaired matters less than whether the prosecution can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of DUI. The prosecution must prove each element of the offense charged against you beyond a reasonable doubt, or you cannot be convicted or punished for DUI.
By pleading not guilty, you’re essentially informing the court that you’re invoking your constitutional right to make the prosecution prove that you are guilty of DUI beyond a reasonable doubt.
By pleading not guilty, you still may be able to
avoid punishment for DUI.
Pleading guilty up front to a DUI charge might land you more punishment than you otherwise would have received.
If you plead guilty up front, you’re essentially doing all the work to prove the prosecution’s case against you, before you know whether the prosecution even has a decent case against you.
Thus, the prosecution will get its conviction, will be allowed to give you any punishment it desires (including the maximum available), and it won’t have to do any work for it.
By pleading not guilty, you’ll have the chance to determine exactly what evidence the prosecution has against you. You’ll be able to know important factors, such as:
Whether the evidence against you is strong or weak,
Whether testimony against you will be reliable, and
Whether there is even sufficient evidence to support a continued charge against you.
If, perhaps, it turns out that the evidence against you in a critical area is extremely weak...
(for example, if the prosecution can’t prove you were driving or in actual physical control of the vehicle),
...then there is a greater chance that the punishment will be reduced or that the charge will be dropped altogether. You never know what will happen unless you play the game and allow for all of the evidence to come to light.
NEVER plead guilty to a DUI offense at the first opportunity.
ALWAYS plead not guilty to a DUI offense at the first opportunity.
There will be a time in the future to plead guilty when there is potentially a better deal on the table.
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