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Different Pleas Enterable in Michigan DUI Case
Answer: Well, at arraignment, in the beginning of the case, you have a choice of either pleading guilty or not guilty, or standing mute, in which case the judge or magistrate will enter a plea of not guilty on your behalf. At the beginning of the case, it's important for people to know that the ultimate plea that happens at the end of the case, whether it be guilty, or not guilty, or no contest, is not what they're asking at that moment. They're just trying to make sure that the person is informed of their rights and the charges against them and setting bond conditions. So that's the focus at that time. There are plenty of judges out there who will take a guilty plea at the arraignment and then there's no opportunity to negotiate with the prosecutor to try and reduce charges, it's only sentencing that ‘s left at that point in time. So I highly recommend anybody to not plead guilty at the arraignment, because the not guilty plea is kind of a legal pause button to stop the case at that time to at least enable someone to represent them who can negotiate with the prosecutor and try to get the charges reduced or dismissed. And that option is off the table if they've already pled guilty.
The only option then would be to try and get the judge to allow a withdrawal of that plea. That's, I mean, there are many different pleas to reduce charges that may happen down the road, and to different types of offenses or civil infractions. So ultimately, you don't have to necessarily plead guilty or not guilty to a specific charge of operating while intoxicated when something might be worked out that's a very different type of charge down the road. So there are so many different things that people have been able to accept responsibility for or plead guilty to when they were originally charged with some type of operating while intoxicated offense, so there's many, many different things that they might plead to. And also if things are dismissed then they won't have to end up pleading to anything in that situation. No contest pleas are available if there's either some kind of accident where somebody's afraid that they might be sued civilly for damages, or in a case where they just don't remember absolutely anything about the facts of the case and really can't give a judge the factual basis necessary to, for the judge to be able to accept a guilty plea.