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Should I Take a Plea Bargain for DUI?

Updated on March 15, 2023 → Under

If you're facing a DUI charge in Illinois, you may be offered a plea bargain deal at one point or another in the legal process. If you're offered a plea deal, you might have many questions regarding what this means for you and your DUI case. One of the most common questions our attorneys get is if clients should take a plea bargain for DUI.

Basically, the most essential thing you should know about a plea bargain agreement is that you need to be cautious. As DUI criminal defense attorneys who have represented thousands of DUI cases for decades, we have helped many DUI offenders avoid bad plea deals, get favorable outcomes in their cases, and make careful decisions about their legal options.

A plea deal can be a good legal option sometimes; however, many times, you may have better options. If you or a loved one is facing drunk driving charges in Illinois, the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Dohman Law Group can help you get a favorable plea deal. To schedule a no-cost initial consultation, contact our experienced Chicago DUI criminal defense attorneys today at (847) 616-9993.

What is a DUI Plea Bargain?

During a DUI-related plea bargain, a DUI offender enters a guilty or no contest plea to driving under influence of alcohol or drugs. The defendant might plead guilty to a lesser charge to receive a less severe sentence. In exchange, the DUI offender loses their right to a jury trial to defend themselves against the original offense charged.

For instance, in some drunk driving cases in some jurisdictions, the defendant pleads down to reckless driving. A reckless driving charge carries a lighter sentence than a drunk driving conviction. A DUI plea bargain deal is an excellent alternative to the risk that losing at trial imposes.

Most states don't have rules that dictate plea bargain expiration. However, some courts have set time limits when they'll entertain or accept plea bargain agreements in DUI cases. Further, Judges in most states can reject or refuse to accept any plea bargain agreement. 

Contact our attorneys to learn if a plea bargain is your best option for a DUI

The primary benefits of plea bargaining include:

  • Likelihood of pleading to a lesser offense, which means lesser penalties, and
  • Knowing in advance the sentence you'll serve.

Additional benefits of charge reduction pleas include:

  • No mandatory loss of driving privileges in most states, and
  • Sometimes, no “priorability.” A "priorable" DUI offense counts as a previous criminal offense if the DUI offender is later convicted of intoxicated driving or another wet reckless offense during the “lookback” period for driving under the influence.

How Can I Get DUI Plea Bargains?

Typically, plea bargains are proposed at the discretion of the prosecutor for the drunk driving case. Each criminal defense lawyer is different, and each lawyer may use different plea bargain guidelines or plea bargaining policies that govern the plea bargaining process. Some DUI prosecutors rarely offer plea agreements, while others offer them often.

DUI-related plea bargain deals are often offered to first-time offenders who previously had relatively clean driving records. Thus, it's quite easy for a first-time DUI offender to be offered a plea deal and they may plead their DUI charge down to a reckless driving charge. A reckless driving charge carries less severe punishment than a DUI charge. If you're contemplating taking a plea deal, it's essential to contact an experienced DUI attorney who can help you determine if the deal you've been offered is a favorable plea bargain deal. 

Should I Accept a Plea Bargain For DUI?

Plea bargains can reduce your DUI charges, after all. They can help you avoid severe penalties, and they save you the inconvenience of going through a trial.

So, are plea bargains always good? Plea deals aren't always good. In fact, often, our experienced drunk driving defense team has fought and found favorable plea bargains for our clients.

How much a plea bargain deal can help or hurt you depends on the unique circumstances of your drunk driving case. It's essential to note that each case has different prospects, and it requires a careful legal analysis to determine if you're better off accepting a plea deal or taking your case to trial. Often, though, you may have better options

Do plea bargain deals help sometimes? Plea deals often help, we can't deny that. But often, we have worked with clients who choose to decline a plea bargain and ended up securing an even better outcome for them, thanks to our aggressive and targeted defense strategy. 

For instance, the most common plea deal offered in drunk driving cases we represent are plea bargain deals that need our client to plead guilty to wet reckless charges. Here, we guide our clients and help them decide whether taking the plea deal is good for them.

Are There Better Options Than a Plea Deal?

A good DUI criminal defense attorney should fight for his or her client's interests. At Dohman Law Group, we always aim to offer an aggressive and strategic defense strategy for our clients so that they have more options outside of taking a plea bargain.

If we analyze a drunk driving case and see that there's a chance of getting the drugged driving charges dismissed through challenging the legality of their traffic stop, a lack of probable cause for the drunk driving arrest, or through effective DUI defenses, we typically advise our client to be cautious about accepting a plea bargain. 

Sometimes we have worked with clients who would rather accept a plea deal than go to trial. Here, we can adjust our defense strategy while still fighting for your interests. Should you wish to take a plea deal, our experienced criminal defense team will analyze the terms of the plea bargain thoroughly, and fight to get you favorable plea deal terms.

Finally, whether you choose to accept a plea deal or decline, an experienced DUI defense lawyer at Dohman Law Group can help you negotiate a better offer for your case.

What Should You Do If You're Offered a Plea Deal?

It's imperative to stay calm and avoid making rash decisions. Any drunk driving case is stressful to deal with, and it may seem that pleading down your case can bring a quick resolution to your problems, but that's never the case.

Typically, you'll have a time limit to decide whether you'll take the plea deal. It's in your best interest to use the time you have productively.

Schedule a free consultation with an experienced DUI attorney and discuss your legal options. Speaking with an experienced attorney allows you to gauge what you should expect from your DUI case, assess whether taking a plea deal is a good option for you, and decide if you wish to hire a DUI criminal defense attorney to fight your DUI charges. Thus, if you're offered a plea deal, it's essential to consult an attorney and use the consultation with an attorney to your advantage.


A DUI criminal defense attorney plays a significant role in plea bargaining. An experienced attorney will protect your rights and he or she can advise you on whether accepting a plea bargain is in your best interest. Also, an attorney can counsel you about the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal and help you understand the consequences of taking your case to trial. Finally, an experienced DUI defense lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the prosecution and make sure you have the best possible outcome.

Plea bargain deals are very common, but this doesn’t mean you should take one if it’s offered to you. Make sure you understand what you're being offered and what you must exchange for it.

If you're facing drugged driving charges and you're concerned about how your case will impact your future, our defense team can help you. With decades of legal experience, the DUI criminal defense attorneys at Dohman Law Group are skilled at assessing drunk driving cases and offering our clients the targeted and strategic defenses they need to get better outcomes.

Whether you're considering taking a plea deal, facing a new DUI charge, or in the middle of a tough DUI case, contact our Chicago law office today at (847) 616-9993 to schedule a free initial consultation, and discuss your legal options. 

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