Imagine for a moment that you’re in a situation you never thought you’d find yourself in. You’ve been accused of a crime and are facing charges. There are a few options that you have for addressing the charges against you. One of these is the a bargain, which is used to resolve around 90% of criminal charges in the United States.
A plea bargain is an agreement between you and the prosecutor wherein you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, or to one of several charges, in return for a more lenient sentence. In some cases, a plea deal may include the dismissal of other charges.
Why are plea deals considered for criminal cases?
It can seem daunting, but plea bargains often lead to lighter sentences and lower fines. Also, this opportunity can spare you the uncertainty of a trial. Trials are unpredictable, and while you might be hopeful of a not guilty verdict, there’s no guarantee.
Courts consider plea deals because they free up room on the docket for cases that need to go to trial. It also puts less stress on the resources of the prosecutor since they can focus on cases that don’t have the possibility of a plea agreement.
What should you think about if you’re considering a plea deal?
It’s not as simple as just accepting any offer that you’re extended. You need to think about your options and understand the consequences of each. Remember, by accepting a plea bargain, you’re admitting guilt to a crime. This will be on your record and could affect your future employment prospects and housing applications. In some cases, criminal convictions can lead to issues with an immigration status. Plea agreements have a clause that prevents you from being able to appeal the sentence or conviction later, so that’s also a consideration.
Seeking legal guidance so that a criminal defense professional can discuss all of your options with you and help you learn how they may impact you now and in the future will, therefore, be important.