If you have been charged with drunk driving or another alcohol-related traffic offense, the choice between contesting the charges and pleading guilty is not one that should be made lightly or hastily. Rather, this is a decision you should make after consulting with your defense attorney.
Some people assume that they have to plead guilty either because they are sure they’ll be convicted or they want to put the experience behind them as quickly as possible. After examining the details of your case and factoring in other circumstantial needs you may have, your attorney can advise you on the best course of action.
A good example of this equation is the case of former Ohio State football star Bradley Roby. Not long ago, Roby was initially charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Details offered in news reports vary slightly, but it seems as though police found Roby sitting in his parked car in a parking lot. Officers allegedly smell alcohol coming from the vehicle which led to field sobriety tests.
After consulting with his attorney, Mr. Roby decided to agree to a plea deal. Instead of OVI, he agreed to plead guilty to a non-moving violation of having “physical control” of the car. This charge essentially applies to an allegedly intoxicated person who is not driving the vehicle but is sitting in the driver’s seat or otherwise has control of the vehicle. This statute is somewhat rare and does not exist in every state.
Why did he take the plea deal? According to his attorney: “Though my client maintains his innocence and feels he would have been completely exonerated had he taken this matter to trial, Bradley has accepted the prosecutor’s offer of a reduced charge. . . . Bradley is very focused and is excited about starting his NFL career.”
In this particular case, even though he could have fought the charges with a good chance of success, he chose instead to take a plea deal in order to save time and keep his focus on pursuing an NFL career. The plea deal requires him to complete a three-day driving program, but he will get to keep his license and will not have to serve a 180-day jail sentence.
There are many things to consider when deciding how to respond to criminal charges such as OVI. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense attorney can help you better understand your rights and options.