Facing any kind of criminal charges can be a stressful and frightening experience. In addition to worrying about the criminal consequences, people tend to worry about how a trial could affect their job or social standing. For many people, that concern could motivate them to plead guilty in order to avoid the perceived embarrassment of a trial.
Anyone accused of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs may face an OUI (operating under the influence) charge. For first and second time offenders whose offenses don't involve causing injuries, the charge is a misdemeanor.
It's possible to fight OUI charges
Some people believe pleading guilty is in their best interest because the offense is not a felony. However, the criminal record that results from even a misdemeanor conviction could haunt you for years.
Due to the use of breath tests during roadside stops, some people believe that it is impossible to defend against an OUI charge. If you blew a certain BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level, you may think that pleading guilty is smart because a conviction is inevitable. Every charge and situation is unique, but it is possible for people to successfully defend against OUI charges.
There are many factors that could come into play, such as why and how police stopped you, any medical conditions you have and the forensic evidence associated with the charges. You shouldn't resign yourself to a criminal record and all the consequences that come with an OUI offense. Considering a proper defense is often a better option.
Avoiding a trial won't keep your conviction a secret
Trials could require that a defendant miss several days of work. Protracted legal proceedings could also make it more difficult for you to keep information about your charges private. Some people may hope that by simply pleading guilty, they can avoid some of the social and professional repercussions associated with an OUI offense.
It is possible to carpool, Uber or otherwise travel to and from work while you have a suspended license. So long as you aren't tardy or absent all the time, your employer may not realize you stopped driving yourself. It's also possible to complete all court-required appointments without your employer finding out. However, if you ever seek a new job or even a promotion, that guilty plea could impact your chances of getting the position.
Get advice before you plead
Having an OUI offense on your background check could keep you from moving up at your company. It could also cost you your job if your employer does find out. This is particularly true if your job involves transportation in any way.
It's possible that the best way to minimize the impact of an OUI arrest is to fight the charges, not plead guilty to them. An experienced defense attorney can explain your options.