There is no easy way to tell a person whether or not to take a plea deal. He or she may believe that he or she is the one who can make that decision, and no one else’s say matters. The truth is that your attorney likely has a good idea of whether or not that plea deal is a good one and what you should expect if you don’t take it.
No two cases are exactly alike, so it can be difficult to decide what a fair plea deal is. In some cases, going to trial might be preferred, especially if the defense believes the individual will walk away with a not-guilty finding.
Are plea deals common?
Plea deals are used in courts often, because they help lower the number of trials. They save money and help individuals by giving them the option of lower charges or lesser penalties in exchange for information or a guilty plea.
Plea deals are offered based on the strength of evidence in a case, the likelihood of a guilty verdict and the seriousness of a crime. For example, if there is no evidence, you’d likely opt to have the case dismissed and to go to trial. If there is some evidence and a risk of a conviction, a plea deal might be a better option.
How do plea bargains work?
Plea bargains come in a variety of forms. Many work by having an individual agree to certain parts of the prosecution’s findings in exchange for a lesser penalty or charge. For example, by admitting to driving drunk, someone may take a plea for substance abuse counseling instead of a longer prison term.
When you’re offered a plea deal, you don’t have to take it. Your attorney can negotiate for better terms, too. In the end, a plea is only good if it’s going to result in fewer penalties.