Anyone facing criminal charges knows how stressful they can be. After all, if the courts find you guilty of committing a serious crime, you may face years in prison. You may also experience a variety of life consequences that tend to accompany criminal convictions. As such, you may be thinking about taking a plea deal to either limit your criminal exposure or shorten the process.
According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, about 97% of criminal cases conclude with a plea. As you may suspect, though, not every deal prosecutors offer is a good one. Here are three signs you may be about to accept a bad plea deal:
1. You are not guilty
Pleading guilty means you are accepting responsibility for having committed a crime. For a variety of reasons, though, innocent individuals sometimes plead guilty. Still, if you did not commit the crime, defending yourself in a courtroom may be a better approach. Otherwise, you may receive a conviction and carry a criminal record with you for the rest of your life.
2. The plea does not make sense
Plea deals can be full of legalese that is tough to understand. Unless you know exactly what the plea entails, you should not accept it. An experienced attorney can help explain the ins and outs of any plea you are considering.
3. You are giving up too much
Plea bargains often have consequences attached to them. That is, you typically give up certain rights in exchange for a lesser sentence or dismissal of other charges. You may suspect, though, that not all plea offerings are friendly to criminal defendants. If a prosecutor expects you to give up too much or the punishment seems exceedingly severe, you may be better off rejecting the plea.
Dealing with criminal charges is enough to rattle anyone. While a plea may be a quick way to put your matter to rest, you do not want to accept a bad deal. By understanding how to recognize an unreasonable plea offering, you can better plan for addressing your criminal charges in a proactive and productive way.