Amanda Bynes Reaches Plea Deal, Avoids DUI Charges
If you are facing DUI charges for driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs, you have several options, which an experienced DUI attorney can explain to you. First, you can fight the charges and go to trial. If you win at trial, your charges are dismissed and you walk away with zero consequences or record. However, if you are found guilty at trial, the judge will sentence you based on your original charge. Such a sentence may include up to six months in jail, nine months of alcohol education classes, a $1,000 fine, and more for only a first offense. For this reason, the trial process is risky.
On the other hand, many people find it is in their best interest to accept a plea deal, or plea bargain. Your DUI attorney will negotiate with the prosecutor to try to come to a settlement agreement should you plead guilty. An agreement may include reduced charges, a lesser sentence, or both.
Amanda Bynes’s Charges and Plea Agreement
In the summer of 2012, the former television and movie actress was charged with DUI after reportedly colliding with a police car while intoxicated earlier that year. The case was delayed, as Bynes entered a psychiatric facility due to other reports of bizarre behavior and mental illness. After a Bynes was determined fit to stand trial in November, her California DUI case reconvened.
CNN reported that Bynes’s case recently wrapped up after she entered a no-contest plea on February 24, 2014. A no-contest plea means a defendant does not admit to the crime or dispute the crime, and is often used to allow a defendant to take a plea bargain without specifically admitting to the underlying offense. In return for her no-contest plea, Bynes received a reduced charge of reckless driving, three years of probation, a fine, and three months of alcohol education classes. She avoided all jail time and having a DUI conviction on her record.
Reduced DUI Charges in California
As you can see from the Bynes case, California law allows charges to be reduced as part of a plea bargain. There are several different charges to which a DUI may be reduced in California courts. Some are more common than others, but any of the following may be possible in a plea bargain, depending on the facts of your case and the negotiation skills of your DUI attorney. The two most common are as follows:
Wet reckless—This charge is not an actual offense in itself, but is solely used to reduce DUI charges in California. Though you do not have an actual DUI on your record, a wet reckless will be considered a prior offense if you get a subsequent DUI.
Reckless driving (or Dry Reckless)—This charge will not count as a prior DUI on your record, but will still add 2 points to your driver’s license.
Other possible, though less frequent, reduced charges include drunk in public, exhibition of speed, or a combination of traffic violations.
In short, every DUI case is different. Some people are better off taking a plea bargain, while others are better risking trial. An experienced DUI attorney can advise you of your options and help you make the decision. If you are facing DUI charges in Sonoma, Lake, or Mendocino Counties, call Beck Law PC for assistance today.