Depending on the evidence that the prosecutor has against you, it may or may not be a better idea to accept a plea deal rather than going to a jury trial. The best outcome is for you to be found innocent and to be cleared of all charges. However, if this is unlikely, you may only be required to take a course on drunk driving and engage in community service. Not only will your penalties be lighter, but you will also spend less money in legal fees.
Going to Trial
The best time to choose a jury trial is if the evidence against you having driven drunk is weak. For example, if the test performed to establish your inebriation was flawed, the jury may return a not guilty verdict.
Having the Charges Reduced
If the case against you is weaker, you may be able to have the DUI case reduced to an open container violation or a reckless driving violation by entering into a plea deal. Even though you are pleading guilty, it is important that you not actually admit fault while you are negotiating. For example, you do not have to admit that you had several beers before driving. Such an admission could later be used against you.
When the charges are very serious, such as when you are being charged with an aggravated DUI, you could have the aggravated DUI reduced to simply a DUI. Aggravated DUI is a much more serious felony charge that can carry a longer sentence.
Dropping Some of the Charges
If you have more than one charge against you, you may be able to have one of your charges dropped. Even if you have a lesser charge dropped, your overall sentencing will not be as severe.
Receiving Lesser Penalties
Even if all of the charges remain the same, you could have your sentencing reduced. For example, you may be able to avoid having your license suspended. The downside is that the charge will be still on your record. For example, if you are charged with an aggravated DUI, but receive more mild penalties than a typical case, you'd still have a felony on your record.
The prosecutor decides when and if the plea deal will be accepted. However, the prosecutor can choose to set a time limit on how long before you are able to enter a plea deal, so you may need to hurry. The best way to make such a fast decision is to consult with a DUI attorney (click for more info).