Should I wait? Waiting is sometimes hard to do?

I was recently asked by a client, “Is there anything we can do to speed up the process? I don’t want to wait 6 to 9 months to resolve my DWI?”

The answer is: yes, you can speed up the process. You can walk into court on the first court date and plead guilty.

This is NOT something I recommend. Why? Because the plea offer you’re likely to get on the first court date is likely the worst plea offer you could get. The DA knows you’re anxious to resolve the matter. Consequently, the Wake County DA will offer you a really bad deal, one that you should almost always refuse. In the case of a DWI, while the plea offer is almost always to “plead open” (i.e., you get nothing in exchange) and that may be something you’d want to do eventually, there’s no reason to do it on the first court date.

There may be circumstances in which you absolutely need to get the DWI or other criminal matter resolved right away. Perhaps you’re about to enlist in the armed forces. None of the branches will take an enlistee unless all criminal matters are resolved. Consequently, you may want to “get it over with.”

But for many people, waiting is the best thing to do. Why? Because as time goes on, the state’s position almost always weakens. And DAs get more eager to offer better pleas as time goes on.

Finally, in many cases, you won’t get all of the information about your case until at least 6 to 9 months after you are first charged. For instance, if you’re charged with a DWI, and as part of your arrest you submitted to a blood test, the blood results won’t be returned by the SBI for months.

The State Bureau of Investigation (SBI), the agency that conducts the blood test, has such a backlog, that the results of the test won’t be available until at least 6 months after your arrest.

The answer is to sit tight and wait. At most, you’ll have to make a number of appearances. If you’re out-of-state, your attorney can make those for you.

But otherwise, you can go about your life, maybe save up some money for the fines and costs you’ll have to pay, and relax.

Damon Chetson

Damon Chetson is a Board Certified Specialist in State and Federal Criminal Law. He represents people charged with serious and minor offenses in Raleigh, Wake County, and the Eastern District of North Carolina. Call (919) 352-9411.