Overview of Rights a DUI Defendant Waives in a Plea Bargain
Although the form of the advisement differs from state to state, any person charged with DUI anywhere in United States jurisdiction has certain Constitutional rights. In order to enter into a DUI plea bargain, or plead guilty or no-contest to the court, you must understand and agree to waive these important rights, which are as follows:
- The right against self incrimination.
- The right to plead not-guilty.
- The right to confront and cross-examine witnesses against you.
- The right to call witnesses to testify for you.
- The right to subpoena witnesses to appear for you if they won’t do so voluntarily.
- The right to a trial (in most states DUI case enjoy the right to a jury trial).
- The right to appeal.
When you waive these rights, the judge will want to make sure that you do so knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently. Therefore, most judges in most states will review these rights with out orally, or “on the record.” This is done to make sure you understand in the moment, and also to make sure that you don’t later claim that you didn’t realize what you were getting into.
Some courts also include the reading of additional rights or advisements in DUI cases, which include:
- That a plea of guilty or no-contest could result in deportation and/or exclusion from the United States for people who are not citizens.
- That a plea could result in your license being revoked or other civil sanctions that may come from your state’s DMV rather than the court.
- That a plea does not bar a civil suit if there was an accident.
- That a plea may result in job loss for certain professions.
- That if you are on probation, parole or community supervision for another crime, your DUI plea could result in consequences in that other case that are not anticipated in the plea agreement.
Many courts will also make DUI defendants sign a “guilty plea proceeding” form, which outlines the rights that the judge goes over. This is an additional safeguard to make sure you understand your rights, and to make sure they can prove it if necessary in the future.
It is extremely important to discuss your rights with a qualified DUI lawyer prior to waiving them.
Although almost every court will allow a person to waive their right to have an attorney while pleading guilty, it is common sense that most people accused of DUI should at least consult with a DUI attorney prior to deciding whether to waive that important right.