If you get arrested for DUI, it's possible that you could have multiple charges. This could increase the penalties you face or the chances of you getting convicted. Here's what you should know.
Why Would the Police File Multiple Charges?
There are a few reasons that police might file multiple charges. You might get charged with both driving under the influence and a reckless driving or other charge related to how you were driving. You might get charged with multiple levels of DUI in case the higher charge gets thrown out and the police can only prove the lower charge. You could also face other related charges such as resisting arrest.
What Are the Consequences of Multiple Charges?
Having multiple charges could impact the direct and indirect consequences that you face. If the police add a felony to a misdemeanor charge, you then have the risk of becoming a convicted felon.
For sentencing, the sentences for each charge coming out of a single incident generally don't add up. However, if one charge has a longer sentence, the judge may use that in sentencing versus giving the shorter sentence for a different charge. In addition, the judge may give a higher sentence within the range of possible sentences if you committed multiple crimes.
What Happens If You Beat or Get Convicted of Each Charge?
The prosecutor will have to prove each charge separately beyond a reasonable doubt. If you beat a charge, the other charges still get separate guilty or not-guilty verdicts. However, the judge will only sentence you based on what you're convicted of.
One possible reason for beating some charges but not others is that the police can't prove an element of one of the charges. For example, they might be able to prove reckless driving based on your speed but not have enough proof that you were drunk for the DUI charge.
Can You Plead Guilty to Only One Charge?
This is up to the deal your attorney makes with the prosecutor and judge. If you just plead guilty to a single charge on your own, the other charges remain open. However, it's a common plea bargain tactic to agree to plead guilty to a single charge in exchange for the other charges getting dropped. Your attorney can help you decide if that deal makes sense for your case.
To learn more about your charges and how to defend yourself, contact a local driving under the influence lawyer today.