What Is the Next Phase of your DWI Case? Plea Bargains or Going to Trial?
Interviewer: When you have reviewed the discovery and you’re making the plan of attack, it sounds like the case can go two ways. I imagine propose settlements or plea agreements or take it to trial. Where does it go from here typically?
Every Attorney’s Ultimate Goal Is to Avoid a Trial by Having the Case Dismissed
Kevin: The goal is always to avoid a trial and get the prosecutor to drop the DWI by forcing that prosecutor to realize that it’s going to be an uphill battle to win the case at trial. This also applies to any refusal charge or any other serious motor vehicle charge that’s been alleged by the police.
So the goal is to get as much discovery as possible for building defenses, filing legal motions, getting expert reports and utilizing all these aspects in order to get the prosecutor to understand that winning at trial is going to be much tougher than he or she originally thought.
If the Case Cannot Be Favorably Settled Before Trial, Attorney Leckerman Rarely Advises Clients Not to Go to Trial with DWI Case
If the prosecutor is then unwilling to concede on certain charges, then of course, the option is to go to trial. For the most part, my cases do go to trial if they can’t be worked out. Unless there are aggravating circumstances in a DWI case, there’s rarely a reason, in my opinion, to not take the matter to trial. A judge should not penalize a client for exercising the right of due process.
Attorney Leckerman Waits Until His He Has Established a Solid Defense before Negotiating with the Prosecutor
Interviewer: If the case cannot be favorably settled before trial, what transpires between you and the prosecutor? Is there much interaction between the defense and the prosecution?
Kevin: I will wait to negotiate a case until I have all my expert reports, filed all my motions, and established all of my legal defenses. In that way, I can present the entire defense rather than just presenting it piecemeal at various court dates. So, my cases will generally require at least two or three court appearances before we get to a final pretrial court date, when I can then talk to a prosecutor about negotiating the charges.
Your Attorney Should Consult with You Prior to Opening Negotiations with the Prosecutor and You Should be Fully Apprised of all the Potential Outcomes
Prior to court hearings, I will speak to my clients about how I think that the negotiations may go. I will give the client a number of different potential outcomes for the negotiations and have that person start to think about how he or she may want to resolve the case.
Once the prosecutor makes a proposal, I’ll present it to my client. If a client is not satisfied, then I will make a counter proposal. If the counter proposal doesn’t seem to persuade the prosecutor, then the case gets scheduled for a trial.