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The guilty plea by a reality TV star following his arrest for driving while intoxicated demonstrates how plea bargaining can work toward protecting your future. As we discussed in a recent post about, how plea bargaining might benefit a person charged with traffic violations in New York traffic court, instead of a misdemeanor conviction, the plea negotiation allowed the driver to avoid a criminal record by pleading guilty to a noncriminal violation.

The TV star was arrested in New York City by police who stopped his car after they claimed to have observed it weaving through traffic late at night.

Prosecutors filed a misdemeanor DWI charges after his blood alcohol content level was measured at .09 percent, which is slightly higher than the legal limit in the state of .08 percent.

A successful plea bargain negotiation can be a benefit for the prosecution, the defense and the court system. Prosecutors handling the case could have been influenced by the low BAC level, and the fact that this appeared to be the motorist's first time facing drunk driving charges; so accepting a guilty plea to driving while impaired might have seemed appropriate.

The guilty plea also eliminated the need for a trial that would have taken a judge and prosecutor away from other possibly more serious matters.

From a criminal defense point of view, a plea bargain eliminated the risk of a conviction of the misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated.

A misdemeanor DUI conviction will leave a motorist with a criminal record. Violations, such as driving while impaired, are not criminal convictions in New York, so a motorist pleading guilty would not have a criminal record as a result.

Drivers facing drunk driving charges should understand their legal rights as well as the penalties and consequences of a conviction. A criminal defense attorney can be a valuable resource for answers to questions and concerns about a DUI charge.

Source: ABC News, "'Cake Boss' Admits Driving While Impaired in NYC," Jennifer Peltz, Dec. 1, 2014

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