Pleas Can Be Confusing

February 13, 2014 |
Pleas Can Be Confusing
James Emery

One excellent reason to have a lawyer on your side is that you can you understand plea deals. For many reasons, a prosecutor may want to offer a charge offender a lesser sentence in exchange for pleading guilty to a charge. The details of these deals may be confusing to a layperson, but they can have big consequences in future civil suits.

Take this plea deal example. A driver of a hayride tractor had many passengers during a trip. The vehicle overturned and sent 9 people to the hospital. He was initially charged with reckless driving, but the prosecution offered to reduce the charge to impaired driving. The driver was found to have been drinking before the accident, but the driver’s BAC was only 0.06, which is within legal limits.

By taking this plea deal, the driver would have a restricted license for 90 days, rather than a possible suspension. Also, they asked him to plead “no-contest”. This is a special plea that says you don’t admit to guilt, but you’re not going to contest the charges. By not admitting to guilt, this can help avoid having the case used against you in a subsequent civil suit. With so many people injured, this could have been a real possibility. If he had pled guilty, that would be a near-sure win for anyone who came forward with an injury lawsuit afterward.

However, a no-contest plea doesn’t mean that there’s no chance of a civil suit winning. It just means the criminal case can’t be used as evidence. If you have been injured in an accident, there’s no reason to avoid speaking with an attorney once you’re healed enough to do so. If you live in Michigan, call Michigan Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We can help.