Getting pulled over because a police officer suspects chemical impairment may mean a complete disruption to someone’s schedule, as they might spend the night in jail. It could even be a full weekend before they have an arraignment in front of a judge.
A driving under the influence (DUI) offense in Oklahoma might result in jail time and fines, as well as a loss of someone’s driver’s license. Therefore, many people are eager to minimize the possible penalties for a DUI charge. The strategy that many people employ often does more harm than good.
It is surprisingly common for those who want to avoid the worst consequences of a DUI arrest to plead guilty to the pending charges. Many people assume that pleading guilty will result in more lenient sentencing, but there are no guarantees of what a judge will decide after someone pleads guilty.
A judge decides what sentence is appropriate
After entering a guilty plea, a DUI defendant will then have to wait for sentencing from an Oklahoma criminal judge. The judge must adhere to state rules regarding the penalties that they impose, but there is quite a bit of discretion involved in sentencing.
They could impose a minimal fine or go for the maximum amount allowed by law. The same is true for other penalties, including a license suspension and a possible sentence of jail time. It will be the records of the circumstances when someone got arrested, including their blood alcohol concentration and numerous other factors, that will guide a judge’s decision. They will also often consider someone’s history, and prior offenses can lead to more serious criminal penalties.
A successful defense is the only way to eliminate the risk
Criminal defendants never know if the judge hearing their case might have a personal bias about DUI cases and a history of imposing the maximum penalties whenever possible. There will be a lot to potentially lose when someone pleads guilty to an Oklahoma DUI.
If someone recently arrested on accusations of impaired driving wants to avoid jail time or the loss of their driving privileges, they will typically need to work with a lawyer to defend against those charges rather than pleading guilty and hoping for the best. Learning more about Oklahoma’s DUI statutes can help those hoping to successfully defend against pending drunk driving charges.