You committed a crime, and there is potential for a serious penalty. The prosecution approached your attorney and suggested a plea deal. Instead of spending several years in jail, you’d have only a year along with probation.
While the deal sounds good, you’re not sure you should take it. With the defense you have, you think you can come out on top at trial and walk away without a prison sentence. What should you do?
A plea bargain: A way to help you
In many cases, a plea bargain is a positive way to take a lesser penalty in exchange for a guilty plea. For instance, if you risk going to prison for five years and paying $10,000 in fines, a plea for $1,000 in fines and a 2-year sentence with probation would probably look pretty good. This kind of deal isn’t extremely unusual, especially in cases that don’t involve violent crimes.
A prosecutor and your defense attorney may work together to come up with an acceptable plea offer. Your attorney is aware of the evidence needed for a conviction, but he or she is also aware of how a trial can turn out differently than expected. They’ll discuss possibilities and the penalties a judge may approve in court as well as alternatives.
Why do prosecutors and defense attorneys like plea deals?
Sometimes, plea deals are the best option for defendants. They’re a known variable. The defendant knows what to expect in court, instead of having to prepare for an uncertain trial. The defense attorney and prosecution save time, and the defendant saves money. The court also saves time and money, making a plea deal preferable in most cases.
Should you take a plea deal?
If you are worried about whether you’re getting a good deal, you’re not alone. Many defendants worry that they aren’t making the right decision, but depending on the circumstances, this plea deal could be the one with the least negative outcomes possible. Your attorney will discuss the reality of your case with you and whether it’s advisable to go to trial. If you believe that it is certain to end favorably for you, then you don’t have to take a plea. However, if you lose, you will have a penalty at the judge’s discretion and won’t be able to take the previously offered plea deal.