For those arrested on criminal charges, your attorney will be an outstanding source of guidance and information during the time leading up to the trial. At some point, before you have been formally sentenced, you may find yourself the recipient of an offer from the district attorney's office. This offer from "the state" will specify that you are pleading to a certain offense for a reduced sentence. This means you will move immediately to the sentencing phase and skip the trial altogether. In some instances, this deal, known as a plea bargain, will benefit you. The decision to accept is strictly up to you, and you should arm yourself with information (both pros and cons) before you decide. To learn more about why plea bargains are offered, read on.
The Jail is Full
If your offense is relatively minor, you may be offered a plea bargain to clear space in a crowded jail. With a plea bargain, you can be out of jail quickly, leaving a cell for someone else. Many plea bargains substitute jail or prison time for community service, probation, work farms and other forms of punishment that do not involve time behind bars.
The Calendars Are Full
The criminal justice system demands that those accused are able to proceed to a timely trial, and one less trial means that more serious crimes can go to trial quicker. Prosecutors also have to deal with budgetary constraints, so not having to take the case to trial saves money and personnel for litigating more heinous crimes.
The Scorecard Looks Better
While it may seem inappropriate, prosecutors do keep up with wins and losses. Why? In some cases, prosecutors hold an elected office and touting exemplary crime-fighting statistics can help win the next election. In other cases, it is considered a competition and a challenge to get as many cases successfully litigated as possible. On the books, a plea bargain counts as one for the "win column". Taking a case to court can be a big gamble, regardless of the amount of evidence against the defendant, so plea bargains are seen as "sure things" and a big bargain since less time and money needs to be devoted to administering the deal as compared to a courtroom battle.
Another major benefit of a plea bargain concerns confidential informants, whose identity could be compromised in a trial. The loss of these valuable players in on-going investigations could cause other, more serious cases to be put in jeopardy. For example, a low-level drug dealer could be offered a plea deal to protect the confidential informant who can then remain in place to bring down a big-time dealer.
Know what you are signing before you agree to a plea deal; talk to a criminal defense attorney, like Cooper & Bayless PA, and make an informed decision.
After I was accused of committing crime that I knew I wasn't guilty of, I realized that there were a few things I needed to take care of, and fast. For starters, I needed to focus on fighting for my reputation by working with a criminal attorney. I started looking around for a great lawyer who was qualified to take my case, and I was able to find a professional that I really felt comfortable with. They had a ton of experience and a commitment to keeping me happy, and within a few short months I was proven innocent. This blog is all about fighting for what you know is right.