Imagine that you have just been charged with drunk driving. If you are convicted, this charge can have long-lasting consequences. So would you fight the case in court with the help of a skilled attorney or would you accept a plea deal in hopes of a lesser sentence?
It's this question that often weighs heavily on the minds of many drivers across the state of Washington. While arguing your case in court could lead to exoneration, it can also lead to lengthy litigation. But a plea deal is often considered no better because even if you are innocent of the charges, you are still considered guilty in the eyes of the law.
We bring up this conundrum in this week's post because of a case out of Ohio where a potential first-round draft pick for the NFL had to answer a similar question. The 21-year-old Ohio State footballer was charged with drunk driving back in April after failing field sobriety tests. But when he submitted to a breath test, it recorded a .008 blood alcohol level, far less than the legal .08 limit across the nation. It raised doubt over whether he was really intoxicated -- a point he hoped would exonerate him of the charges.
But he would have needed to wait six weeks for lab tests to confirm that he was not intoxicated behind the wheel -- whether by drugs or alcohol. And according to reports, prolonged litigation could have hurt his draft chances. So, although he was sure of his innocence, he accepted a plea deal for a lesser charge.
Some of our readers might be able to relate with the footballer's situation and the difficult decision he had to make. Although the conviction may remain on his record for the rest of his life, he and his legal counsel felt this was the better option in his situation. But at least the decision was made after speaking to a lawyer and not without knowledge of the consequences that follow, which is something we hope all of our readers will keep in mind.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch, “Bradley Roby takes plea deal, sentenced to 3-day driver-intervention program,” John Futty, April 29, 2014