Most criminal convictions are reached through plea deals or bargains. As the name suggests, a plea deal is an arrangement where a defendant accepts the offer to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced punishment.
However, a plea deal does come with its share of merits and drawbacks. As such, it is important that you weigh your options before accepting a plea offer.
Understanding how plea bargains work
Basically, a plea bargain requires the prosecution and the defense team to work out a compromise agreement. To be valid a plea deal must also be deemed just. Once a plea deal is reached, it is presented to the judge for review. Here, the judge can either accept or decline the plea deal.
A plea deal offers a variety of benefits to the justice system as well as to the accused persons. To the justice system, a plea bargain saves the court time and money while reducing caseloads. But what about the defendant?
Here are some of the reasons why you might want to consider a plea bargain if you are charged with a crime:
You will be charged with a lesser crime
When you are facing a criminal charge, and the evidence against you is overwhelming, you may consider accepting a plea deal. For instance, if you are facing a murder charge, you may plead guilty to manslaughter which has a lesser sentence.
You will avoid a public trial
Sometimes, a criminal trial can put you in the spotlight and reveal private details that you would otherwise find embarrassing to yourself and your loved ones. Of course, the plea deal and the negotiated sentence will remain part of the public record. However, it will likely be less memorable than a highly sensational trial. That can make it easier to move on with your life once your sentence is over.
If you are charged with a crime, you need to exploit every opportunity at your disposal to defend yourself. Find out what it takes to protect your rights and interests while negotiating a plea deal.