Should I plead not guilty? 59 Answers as of July 02, 2013

I was caught by an officer and charged with DUI. I admitted that I have 3 bottles of beer. Should I still plead not guilty even if I already admitted to the officer that I had beer?

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Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
My recommendation to my clients is to always plead "not guilty". The burden is upon the prosecutor to prove guilt. There may or may not be something in your case that could weaken the prosecutor's case. Hire an attorney.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 3/5/2012
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
If you had 3 beers you should have a pretty good defense and you should absolutely NOT plead guilty unless a lawyer advises you to do so. Most OUI cases can be challenged, especially of there is no failing breath test. 3 beers should not put you over the breath test limit, if you took the BT at all.
Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
Replied: 3/5/2012
Robert Mortland
Robert Mortland | Law Office of Robert Mortland
You an plead not guilty and attempt to plea bargain the case down.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 3/5/2012
Klisz Law Office, PLLC
Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
Oh no!!! You need to hire an attorney to avoid the much worse sanctions by pleading straight up to OWI.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/5/2012
Aaron Black Law
Aaron Black Law | Aaron Black
There is more to a DUI than what you stated. You need to hire a lawyer and have someone review your case. No attorney can advise you off of what is written in your question. Call a local DUI lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 3/5/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    If you do not feel that you are guilty do not plead guilty. It would be best if you considered conferring with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/5/2012
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    Having beer does not mean one is guilty of DWI. It might mean you could be convicted of DUI since DUI is no tolerance for those under 21. Consult with a lawyer in person about representation. There are ways to handle DUIs that could save your ability to drive.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/5/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Just because you had beer does not mean that you were intoxicated. Unless they were three jumbos. You need an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/5/2012
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
    Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
    Yes, you should plead not guilty. You are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor must prove any allegations beyond a reasonable doubt. There may have been issues with your confession. You have a right to counsel. You should exercise that right and either retain the lawyer of your choice or request that the court appoint you an attorney payable at the public's expense.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    You should always initially plead not guilty to any criminal charge until the case can be reviewed by a competant attorney. The fact that you had three beers does not necessarily mean that are guilty. If the three beers did not impair your ability to drive the car safely the case should go to trial. There are a multitude of factors that a criminal attorney will examine before determining whether you should go to trial or plead guilty. Have a competent OUI attorney review your case before you decide to plead guilty.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    The issue is whether the consumption of alcohol substantially and materially impaired, or otherwise somewhat impaired your ability to drive. Often, this is shown by a breathalyzer, and if over .08, then it will be presumed. If there is no breathalyzer test, then your answers to questions, observed driving, and any field sobriety or other observations will be used to determine whether you could be convicted. You should consider hiring an attorney to go over your specific facts and determine what the consequences are and what is best for you.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
    No one can tell you what to do without a thorough investigation of your case. Admitting that you had 3 beers does not all by itself mean that you have no defense, or that your case cannot be negotiated to a lesser charge.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Yes! Absolutely! Plead not guilty! But, more important is to hire a lawyer right away before your first court appearance where your license may get suspended.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Offices of Kate Mesic, PA
    Law Offices of Kate Mesic, PA | Kate L. Mesic
    What you need to do is speak to an attorney, there are not enough details to answer your question. However, I would not suggest you enter a plea without discussing your case with an attorney. If you cannot afford one, ask for a Public Defender next time you are in court.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Three beers does not make a DUI, what was the test result? On a low test I can normally get the matter reduced down, so give me a call before you decide just to plead guilty. Most people arrested for DUI claim they only had a couple of drinks, but the test and facts of the case are what is really important. A lot of time the officer may not have had a sufficient basic for stopping you and we can get the evidence suppressed.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    It is not illegal to drink alcohol and drive. It is illegal to drink too much alcohol and drive. Pleading not guilty at the initial arraingment is a good idea. Then consult with an attorney and determine what defense you may have to your case.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Goodgame Law, LLC
    Goodgame Law, LLC | Jeffrey L Goodgame
    A DUI conviction carries serious consequences, including a fine between $600 and $2,100 for a first offense, and up to a 1 year jai sentence. You should consult a DUI attorney about your case. Admitting you drank 3 bottles of beer does not by itself mean that you were in fact impaired while driving. There are several ways a skilled DUI attorney can challenge the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    There was field sobriety tests conducted, no? How did you perform on them? If they weren't given an attorney can use that in their defense. What was your blood alcohol level? Were you over the legal limit of .08%? How large are you? I'm 280 and 3 beers don't do squat to me...in short, make them prove everything, every time.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain a good criminal attorney to handle the matter. Drinking and driving is like firing a gun at a moving train and hoping that no one gets hit by the bullets. Young people don't realize that the police are looking for them at 3:00 am coming from the bar and that it is going to cost them a lot more than a taxi would have. You may be able to get the case reduced to a DWUI violation or even win at trial depending on how you were driving, how you performed on the field sobriety tests, and how the officer testifies about your behavior and appearance.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law
    Hammerschmidt Broughton Law | Mark A. Broughton
    YES! The consequences of a DUI are broad and serious, beyond just fines and jail. Get a criminal defense attorney as soon as you can. If you're lucky you were only arrested a day or two ago so that you can request a DMV hearing. You must do that within 10 days or your license will be suspended for at least 6 months regardless of your blood alcohol level or result in court. You may also have defenses of which you are not aware. Have a lawyer help you!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC
    Law Office of Thomas A. Medford, Jr., PC | Thomas A. Medford, Jr.
    Based on the facts that you have presented there is absolutely nothing wrong with pleading not guilty and consulting an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    In order to fight a DUI charge the first step, before even going to court, is to hire an aggressive attorney that won't plead you out. Then, when the two of you go to court you can enter a not guilty plea.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    It is your choice but yes, it generally advisable to plead not guilty and wait to see the evidence against you (called the "discovery.") Next time don't make any admissions.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP
    McClendon Owens Melia McBreen LLP | Richard L. McBreen III
    You should absolutely plead not guilty, especially at your first appearance. Even more important, you should not do anything or speak to anyone about your case until you are able to speak to an attorney about your case. A good attorney may be able to get those statements thrown out, and the state will have a more difficult time prosecuting you.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    There are ways you can be not guilty even after three beers consult with an attorney to determine your best option.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    You should absolutely plead not guilty at your arraignment. You can always change your plea later. Just because you admitted something doesn't mean you will automatically be found guilty. The admission may not be valid for a number of reasons. If so, your attorney may be able to get it suppressed. Remember, to convict you, the prosecution always has to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. You should not plead guilty unless you have an offer from the prosecution in exchange for your plea and you believe this offer is your best alternative. You need a lawyer to advise you on this. You should consult one right away. If you can't afford one, go to the public defender's office.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Without knowing anything about your case, it is difficult to answer that question. If forced to enter a plea, plead not guilty, and retain an attorney as soon as possible. You do not know how serious the consequences are for DUI nowadays. With an attorney, he can obtain all the information from the prosecution about your case, get your side of the story, and determine what is the best way to handle the case, be it through motions, plea bargaining or trial.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC
    Law Office of Patrick E. Donovan, PLLC | Patrick E. Donovan
    Plead not guilty. The State needs to prove that you were impaired beyond a reasonable doubt. 3 beers isn't a particularly strong case. Depending on all of the circumstances you might have a good case.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Plead guilty, go to jail. You are always entitled to represent yourself in court. Whether you should is a different issue. The conventional wisdom is that an attorney will be able to do a better job and get a better outcome. Prosecutors and judges don't like dealing with ProPers, unless you are simply pleading guilty, not defending the case. Of course you can fight the charges. When arrested or charged with any crime, the proper questions are, can any evidence obtained in a test, search or confession be used against you, can you be convicted, and what can you do? Raise all appropriate defenses with whatever witnesses, evidence and sympathies are available for legal arguments, for evidence suppression or other motions, or for trial. If you don't know how to represent yourself effectively against an experienced prosecutor intending to convict, then hire an attorney that does, who will try to get a dismissal, diversion program, reduction, or other decent outcome through plea bargain, or take it to trial if appropriate. A little free advice: When charged or arrested for DUI, whether alcohol or drugs, then upon release from jail or booking the defendant is given documents that include a notice that you have only ten days to file a request with DMV for a hearing on an appeal of an automatic suspension of your license imposed by DMV. That is separate and runs consecutively with any suspension that may be imposed by the court. Contact DMV and do so, timely, then appear at your scheduled DMV appeal hearing and present any supporting evidence and testimony. If you don't know how to do these things effectively, then hire an attorney that does.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Salladay Law Office | Lance Salladay
    You can plead not guilty, and should do so initially so that if you get an attorney you have time to allow him/her to work with the prosecution to negotiate on your behalf. The fact that you admitted to 3 beers is not helpful, but it does not necessarily make you guilty of DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Offices of Phil Hache
    Law Offices of Phil Hache | Phil Hache
    Just because you admitted to having 3 beers does not mean that you are guilty, or that you were "under the influence."
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    It depends on your alcohol level in your blood. If it is near the .08 level, fight the case. It might be reduced to a lesser charge. If you were stopped without good cause, the case should be dismissed. See a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Grant & Grant
    Grant & Grant | Richard L. Grant, Esq.
    Plead Not Guilty and obtain a private attorney who goes frequently to the court where your matter is files. It will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. If you cannot afford an attorney, request a Public Defender.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC
    Raiser & Kenniff, PC | Steve Raiser
    You should not plead guilty until you speak with an attorney. Drinking and driving is not a crime. Driving while intoxicated is.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    H. Scott Basham, Attorney at Law, P.C. | H. Scott Basham
    You can always plead not guilty, regardless of the evidence. The state always has the burden of proof.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Meadows & Howell, LLC
    Meadows & Howell, LLC | Brad Howell
    Any time you plea not guilty to a charge, the judge will schedule your case for trial. Taking the charge to trial may or may not be a good idea, depending upon the facts of the case and whether you will be able to present an acceptable defense that will have the charges dismissed and you declared not guilty. Often times, it is better to simply plea the charge down and/or enter into a court referral program so that the DUI charge is lessened and/or removed from your record. You will want to speak with an attorney to determine whether you should take this charge to trial, and if not, what options are available to you that will yield the best outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Three beers does not mean DUI. There are other factors which an experienced DUI attorney would need to know.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    It is not illegal to drink and then drive. It is only illegal to drive with a BAC above a certain level, or when the consumption of alcohol affects your ability to safely operate the vehicle. I would suggest you consult with a qualified DUI defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Whether you had beer or not is only remotely relevant to whether you should plead to a DUI. If everyone who admitted drinking were to plead guilty, I would be unemployed a long long time ago. You best consult a DUI specialist. And don't forget you have only 10 days to save your license.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/2/2012
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Drinking and driving per se is not illegal. Whether you should ultimately plead guilty depends on what your breath-alcohol level (BAC) was. I'm 6'2" and 207 pounds, 3 beers would make my BAC about .04. Your actual BAC depends on many factors including gender, weight, whether you ate anything while drinking and the passage of time. For example, we eliminate alcohol at roughly one ounce and hour if we have normal liver function. So if you had three beers and sat in the bar for two hours after your last drink, and weigh 150 pounds or so, you would only have one beer's alcohol left in your system. Unless you are 105-115 and slammed the beer and got behind the wheel, it is unlikely you were intoxicated. The officer should have given you a breath test and that should give you your BAC level. Besides the fact that you may not have been over the legal limit, it is a good idea to plead "not guilty" at your first court appearance. By saying that, you're not saying you are innocent. You are saying to the state, "Prove me guilty." That leaves you with all options available. Depending on your BAC, an attorney may get you a plea offer worth considering. Depending on the evidence, he or she may even get the case dismissed or get an acquittal at trial. The thing to remember is by pleading "not guilty" you're not being dishonest or saying you didn't do it. All you are saying is "Prove me Guilty Beyond a Reasonable Doubt because that is the prosecutor's duty and my Constitutional Right." One final thought is this-the officer who arrested you should have given you a hearing request form. Read it carefully and get it sent in immediately. That preserves your right to contest the suspension of your license. If you don't request a hearing, your license will be suspended automatically.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache
    The Law Office of Stephanie M. Arrache | Stephanie Arrache
    Of course you should plead not guilty. Even though you admitted 3 beers, there are other factors: the length of time while you had the beers, if you ate, the probable cause for the pull over, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Yes, that is not enough alone to even charge of DUI.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Always plead not guilty and get a lawyer. Having a beer does not make you guilty of DUI. Even if you think you are guilty don't plead until you get legal advice.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Glass Defense Firm
    Glass Defense Firm | Jason M. Glass
    You should absolutely plead not guilty. Just because you consumed alcohol does not mean you are under the influence of that alcohol. You need to contact a qualified DUI defense attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: West Virginia
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    It would depend on all of the other factors such as did you take the breath test, what was the driving pattern, wow did you do on the field sobriety tests.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein
    Law Office of Neal L. Weinstein | Neal L. Weinstein
    ABSOLUTELY plead NOT GUILTY. You will then be given the discovery and police reports and evidence against you. You should not plead guilty until or unless you have had advice from an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Maine
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    What you need to do is retain counsel.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    Absolutely. It's not illegal to drink then drive. It's only illegal to be intoxicated and drive. Hire the best DWI attorney you can afford.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Dowdy Law Office
    Dowdy Law Office | J. Scott Dowdy
    Do you want a good deal or just throw yourself on the mercy of the court and hope for the best? The person who represents himself has a fool for an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    It is worth presenting the entire set of facts to an experienced DUI lawyer directly in person to see what his/her thoughts are about this.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/19/2013
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    If I had 3 beers in one hour, I would probably be over .05 for much of the next hour or so based on my weight if it took 2 hours to drink the beer, then I am under .05 so, if there is not a test and the only info is the "3 beers" then you may not be over the limit - depends on time and weight.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Having 3 beers and driving is not necessarily illegal. To be guilty of DUI, you either have to be an unsafe driver because of the beer, or be above the limit on a blood or breath test.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Ascheman & Smith | Landon Ascheman
    Yes, by pleading not guilty at the first appearance it gives you and your attorney a chance to discuss the case with the prosecutor's office and see if there is anything that can be done to lessen the charges or consequences.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Lykins Law | Gerald Lykins
    You should consult with a local DUI attorney prior to pleading guilty. If in fact you only consumed 3 beers you should be close to legal limit.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    The Short Law Group, P.C.
    The Short Law Group, P.C. | Shawn Kollie
    The decision of whether or not to plead guilty to the crime of DUI is not something to be answered simply yes or no. It takes much time to go over the facts of your specific case to determine the evidence that the state has against you. Additionally statements made to police officers may be suppressed or negated dependent on the DUI Lawyer who is helping you and their ability to cross examine an officer. Contact an experienced DUI Lawyer to go over these facts.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 3/1/2012
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP
    Rhoades & Miller, LLP | M. Jason Rhoades
    You need an attorney! Admitting drinking, on its own, does not mean you were driving under the influence. However, no one EVER wins a DUI trial on their own. You need an attorney right away who is experienced with DUI law and procedures.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 3/1/2012
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