There is a tremendous strain on the criminal system and prisons because people are charged with crimes daily. Criminal cases that must go to trial are time-consuming, which is a primary reason prosecutors may be motivated to either offer or accept plea bargains. Having an understanding of plea bargains, and the types that may be available can be helpful for someone who is facing criminal charges. Once an agreement has been made, a judge will review it before finalizing the plea bargain. Handling a plea bargain is typically not something a person can handle on their own, making it essential that you reach out for counsel from a criminal defense lawyer.
When dealing with criminal charges, no one wants to find themselves facing a guilty verdict when the case is finally resolved. Even if you were not guilty of the crime you have been charged with, in some cases, it might be in your best interest to consider a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement that is made between the defendant, their lawyer, and the prosecutor. During negotiations, you may decide to either plead guilty to a lesser charge or sentence or have some charges dismissed. Standard plea bargains that your criminal defense lawyer may present to you are:
Sentence Bargaining: after hearing the recommended sentence from the prosecutor, the defendant enters a plea of either guilty or no contest
Charge Bargaining: pleading to a lesser charge
Count Bargaining: pleading to only one or more charges
Plea bargains involve a fair amount of negotiation on the part of your lawyer. Working with a criminal defense lawyer with savvy negotiation skills and a positive relationship with the court system can help with managing negotiations.
Reasons to Accept a Plea Bargain
Most people dealing with a criminal charge may be wondering why they should even consider accepting a plea bargain, especially if there’s a chance at a not guilty verdict. Be aware that when facing the criminal court system, there are no guarantees. Here are some reasons a plea bargain may be in your best interest:
- Save yourself the headache of a lengthy court process
- Protect your family from the stress of being involved
- The ability to have a charge that carries a significant amount of stigma reduced
- Save the legal expenses that are incurred should your case go to trial
Facing substantial jail time, a significant criminal conviction, and expensive fines can be a heavy weight to carry. Speak with your lawyer about whether it’s in your best interest to consider a plea bargain with your case.
The Counsel of a Criminal Defense Lawyer
Trials can be long and drawn out. In some cases, it may not make sense to subject yourself to this process. Trials can result in lengthy investigations and court proceedings. In some cases, criminal trials may receive more extensive media coverage than if you were to accept a plea bargain. Contacting an experienced lawyer can help to weigh your options in a matter that keeps your best interests at the forefront. For more information about plea bargains and your specific legal issue, contact a criminal lawyer in Civic Center San Francisco, CA to schedule an appointment.
Thanks to Hallinan Law Firm for their insight into criminal defense and plea bargains.