How to Get a Better Plea Bargain in Pennsylvania

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Pleading guilty to DUI may seem the quickest way to resolve your case. However, it will result in a DUI conviction that comes with strict penalties in Pennsylvania.

Don’t make a hasty decision that could jeopardize your driving privileges and complicate your life. Contact the Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis for a strong DUI defense. 

Mr. Kellis understands how DUI charges are brought by district attorneys because he has also worked as a Senior Assistant District Attorney. As a result, Mr. Kellis is able to handle all types of DUI cases. He investigates circumstances surrounding clients’ DUI arrest, challenges questionable evidence brought by police or prosecutors, and ensures that clients’ legal rights are protected.

Keep reading to learn more about common DUI plea bargains, then call our office for a free consultation.

Plea Bargain Options

A plea bargain is when the defendant (DUI offender) is offered a reduced charge in exchange for pleading guilty to a less-serious offense that carries less severe penalties.

A district attorney may offer the defendant an opportunity to plead guilty to reckless driving, a non-DUI offense with lesser punishments. Speeding is another DUI plea bargain that’s used often in Pennsylvania.

How to get a better plea bargain begins with your Pennsylvania DUI attorney. They’ll have to prove certain elements to be offered a bargain. Some of the options are:

  • Questionable BAC test results
  • Misconduct of the arresting police officer
  • Weakness of the district attorney’s case

At times, plea bargains are in the best interests of both the prosecution and the defense, particularly in cases where both parties want a mutual resolution of a case without going to trial.

Experienced DUI attorneys know whether a plea bargain will benefit their client. However, the final decision of whether to accept the plea bargain or to go to trial is up to the defendant.

Plea Bargains for Multiple DUIs

The more times you’re charged with a crime, the more severe the potential penalties. If you already have a DUI, the penalties will be greater. However, in many cases, a good attorney will be able to work out a second DUI plea bargain.

Attorney Steven Kellis will work relentlessly to minimize penalties in your second or third DUI plea agreement:

  • DUI court (for third-time offenders)
  • House arrest or alternative housing instead of jail
  • Work release from jail
  • Acceptance into the Phoenix Court program (for second-time DUI offenders in Allegheny County)


In some cases, a person who is charged with driving under the influence may be given the opportunity to plead to a less serious criminal charge, or even a traffic infraction. 

Entering a plea agreement with the district attorney can be advantageous in some situations, as follows:

Less serious penalties, such as no jail time

  • Avoiding a conviction altogether, which can impact your sentence if you are arrested for another DUI in the next 10 years
  • Less expensive fines and court costs since the Commonwealth will not need to go to the expense of a trial
  • Potentially avoiding a criminal conviction, if you are allowed to plead to an infraction

If there are defects in the evidence against you, or your case does not involve any particularly egregious allegations, you may very well be able to avoid an impaired driving conviction by pleading to a less serious crime or at least obtain a more favorable outcome in your case.

Should I accept the standard deal?

This is one of the most common DUI questions besides wondering how to get a better plea bargain. 

Many court systems throughout the country have what are known as standardized plea deals. These deals are put in place and offered to people accused of high-volume offenses, such as driving under the influence. The deals cannot typically be deviated from, giving the accused a sort of “take it or leave it” option.

While these deals may be written in stone, an experienced attorney can fine-tune them with their client’s interests and needs in mind.

For example, an attorney can ask for a modification of community service or court-ordered classes. While a district attorney certainly doesn’t have to accept these modification requests, they often will if such modifications do not stray too far from the requirements of the standard plea deal.

Do Not Negotiate Without Consulting a DUI Lawyer

Whether you are facing a misdemeanor DUI charge or a more serious felony DUI involving an injury or death, it is imperative to turn to a DUI attorney who knows how to present a strong legal defense on your behalf.

Pennsylvania DUI attorney Steven E. Kellis has been representing clients on DUI charges for more than 20 years, from negotiating plea bargains to taking cases to trial. He has devoted his entire practice to DUI defense and can assist with:

  • Pennsylvania DUI Pleas
  • Pennsylvania DUI Reckless Driving
  • Pennsylvania DUI Exhibition of Speed

If you were charged with DUI and want to know the legal options and DUI plea bargains that may be available to you, contact The Law Offices of Steven E. Kellis today to schedule a free legal consultation or complete our contact form.