There are many reasons for this. I have heard many stories from people that think they got a fair deal and left court happy only to call me weeks or months later and ask why someone they met at a Driver Intervention Program told a story about getting lesser penalties. They always ask why they didn’t get the same deal. I tell them every court does things differently and most cases have unique facts and people involved. It is actually one of the reasons that I love my job. There is always something new to get into and each client is unique.
Ohio has regulations on sentencing that Judges are supposed to follow. Prosecutors also have guidelines from their boss and rules to follow. Sometimes the rules can be bent. Sometimes they can be broken. Sometimes lawyers can find an issue unique to a particular case and leverage it into a better than average deal for their clients. In general fighting a case will cause the prosecutor to take a pretrial deal off the table. However, sometimes fighting will reveal severe defects in the prosecutor’s case which results in a better deal than the client started with. Sometimes a client will reject a deal or will not be offered one. Sometimes the policy of one court and prosecutor may be wildly different from another.
My favorite example is the former client that talks with other people charged with an OVI or DUI. This is comparable to a fish story or the telephone game usually. They will all tell a story about how good their deal was. I am usually amazed at the deals people are reporting. When I ask the client for the details to verify them, they are never entirely accurate. So I often have to report back to my client that the person grossly misrepresented the deal they received. They might also have no real idea about the deal they actually entered a plea to. I get clients all the time that have prior offenses reporting to me that they have no idea what their prior sentence was. Whether it was a conviction as charged or a reduction. Most people are very nervous in court and don’t pick up much of what is going on. Others are not told all the details so they had no chance of really knowing what was going on. People rarely want to publish the fact that they were charged with a DUI or OVI and if they have to they usually tell the story in a much more favorable light than the reality.
For these reasons it is always important to talk to you lawyer. You should not make decisions that will affect the rest of your life without fully understanding the seriousness of the case. Your lawyer should be able to tell you what the typical deal is in any court they practice in. They should know what the policies are for the particular judge and prosecutor. I happen to have been given the opportunity to practice OVI & DUI defense in just about every court in Southwest Ohio and have heard just about every version of the story there is to tell. Remember as a client with legal trouble there is no such thing as a stupid questions.