Multiple Charges Force Defendants into Plea Deals
As reported by Bay News 9, a Citrus County woman was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash, driving while intoxicated (DUI), resisting arrest with violence, child endangerment, and battery on a law enforcement officer, all in one drive. According to reports, the woman allegedly crashed her vehicle while driving under the influence of alcohol. She had crashed into multiple vehicles, and when her vehicle was no longer able to drive, she got out of her car and urinated on the side of the interstate. Next, she allowed her two-year-old son to wander towards traffic. When she was arrested, she allegedly fought with police, hence the resisting arrest and battery on an officer, which are both felonies. She faces the following maximum prison and jail sentences:
- Six months in jail for the DUI if it was her first, and up to five years in prison if it was her fourth DUI;
- Five years in prison for resisting arrest with violence;
- Five years in prison for battery on an officer;
- Five years in prison for child endangerment (causing no bodily harm); and
- Five years in prison for leaving the scene of a crash (hit and run) when another person is injured.
With all of her combined felony offenses, depending on whether or not it was her first DUI and whether or not anyone was injured in the crashes that she fled from, she could be sentenced to prison for a maximum of 25 years.
Prosecutors Have More Power Than Ever Due to More Strict Penalties and Bundling Offenses
For years, federal and state laws have become increasingly harsh, forcing defendants to choose between:
Going to court to defend themselves and their innocence, and if they lose they will be slammed with maximum penalties and dozens of years behind bars; or
Taking a plea bargain in which they plead guilty, whether they truly are or not, and accepting a few years in prison, possibly for a crime they did not commit.
Prosecutors have more power now than ever, according to the New York Times, because when someone violates the law, they are given exceedingly harsh penalties. Moreover, they are also typically charged with half a dozen other offenses along the way. For example, if a someone snatches a purse, instead of simply being charged with robbery, they might be charged with robbery using a deadly weapon, illegal possession of a firearm, and assault or battery, depending on the circumstances of course. Instead of facing five years in prison, they might face 20. When defendants are up against such numbers of charges, and severity of charges, they often opt for the safer route and take a plea deal.
You Need to Call a West Palm Beach Lawyer Today
Choose a lawyer that is prepared to go to court. The West Palm Beach criminal defense lawyers of the Skier Law Firm are equipped to defend you in the courtroom if you so chose, or to bargain for the best plea deal possible. Contact us today for help.