Plea agreements are great for a number of reasons, but they also have some downsides. Before you decide to take a plea deal, it’s a good idea to look into the benefits and disadvantages of doing so.
With the options of a plea deal, you’re really choosing one of two outcomes. The first is that you can choose the certainty of the deal being offered to you. The second is choosing the uncertainty of going to trial.
What happens if you take a plea deal?
If you take a plea deal, you will avoid a criminal trial. You’ll avoid the risk of a more serious conviction with more significant penalties. The plea deal tells you exactly what to expect and is usually less severe than the penalties you’d expect with a conviction.
If you take a plea deal, you’re giving up your right to a trial. That means that you can’t fight for your innocence, if you believe you are, which could be against your wishes.
Why do courts like plea deals?
Plea deals are beneficial because they reduce the number of cases that go to trial. If every case had to go to trial, there simply wouldn’t be enough time for judges to hear them all. Instead, plea deals allow cases to be resolved quickly. Less than 10 percent of all criminal cases go to trial, which should indicate how common plea deals really are.
Plea deals also cost less in the long term, and they guarantee a conviction for the prosecution. For these reasons, they’re often suggested during negotiations.
Should you take a plea deal?
The answer to that isn’t easy, because every case is different. You may want to take a plea deal if the prosecution has significant evidence against you and would be likely to win a case at trial, especially if the penalties are lower than the penalties you’d face from the judge.
On the other hand, if you believe that the prosecution does not have enough evidence to obtain a conviction and your attorney agrees, then you may wish to go to trial to protect your reputation. Your attorney will be able to talk to you about the options you have and give you their thoughts on going to trial.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide if you will take a plea deal. Your attorney can only advise you on the best path to take.