What Happens if I Accept a Plea on an OUI Offense?
Attorney DelSignore discusses what you should know before you decide to take a plea on your OUI case.
THE JUDGE WILL ASK IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE FOLLOWING :
The judge will ask you if you are aware of the maximum potential penalty. The maximum sentence for a first offense OUI is 2½ years in the house of corrections. You are unlikely to receive the maximum sentence even if you are convicted after trial. However, the Court will ask if you are aware of the maximum potential penalty.
Elements of the Offense
The judge will also ask if you are aware of the elements of an OUI offense. Those elements are:
That you operated a motor vehicle;
On a public way
While under the influence of alcohol.
Potential Defenses to your case and options aside from a plea.
Additionally, the judge will ask if you have discussed with your lawyer the potential defenses to your case and your options other than accepting a plea.
What is the Common punishment for a 1 st time OUI Offense?
If you decide to accept a plea for a first offense OUI you will likely receive a continuance without a finding(CWOF) for one year, the 24D alcohol program and a 45-day license loss along with any statutory fines and fees. The fines and fees are as follows:
$1280.00 will be owed to the Court;
You will have to pay for the 24D program, which currently costs $ 707.00
License reinstatement fees: $ 500.00 for either refusing a breath test or for a breath test over .08; $ 500.00 for the admission to an OUI offense.
When you are on probation, you need permission to leave the State; typically this will be allowed.
Technically, you cannot leave the country, though a judge may allow it.
An admission to an OUI offense makes you inadmissible to travel to Canada.
When you accept a CWOF you are admitting that there are sufficient facts to prove you committed the offense.
Before the judge will accept your plea he will ask :
How old you are?
How far you went in school
If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
If you have any psychiatric illnesses that would affect your ability to understand the judge’s questions
If anyone forced you to take a plea
The judge asks these questions to make sure that your plea is voluntary. The judge will then ask you if you understand the rights you are giving up when you take a plea. Those rights include:
The right to a trial before a judge or jury
The right to testify on your own behalf
The right against self incrimination- you cannot be forced to testify against yourself
The right to present witnesses on your own behalf
The right to confront any witnesses the prosecution may have
The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
In a trial it is the prosecution’s burden to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt
The judge will also inform you that any plea or admission may result in deportation , refusal of admission or naturalization if you are not a citizen.
The Judge Will Require you to admit that the Commonwealth could prove the case Against you.
The judge will then ask to hear the facts from the prosecutor. After the prosecutor reads the facts the judge will decide whether or not to accept the plea. If the judge does not accept the plea you can withdraw your admission and proceed to trial. If the judge accepts the plea he will ask if you admit that the facts in the report are substantially true and if you agree the plea will be entered. You cannot enter into a plea unless you admit the facts are true. The Court will not permit you to plea because you do not want to go to court or for any reason other than your statement that the Commonwealth could prove its case against you. You are not admitting to every detail of the police report, but you that if the case went to trial, the Commonwealth could prove you guilty of an OUI offense.
Lastly, the clerk will ask where you had your last drink; was it at a private residence or a public establishment. When the plea is completed you will report to probation.