What Is a Plea Bargain?

prisoner waiting to talk to attorney about plea bargain

When accused of committing a crime, it’s essential to understand all your legal options. Unfortunately, many are unfamiliar with how a court case proceeds, leaving them in a less-than-ideal situation. However, when a conviction seems unavoidable, it may be in your best interest to consult with a Nassau County criminal defense attorney to discuss whether or not you should accept a plea bargain. Keep reading to learn more about what you must consider before agreeing to a deal from the prosecution.

How Does a Plea Bargain Work?

When convicted of a crime, charges are brought against you. However, the prosecutor may offer you a deal to reduce the charges you’re facing. Generally, in exchange for a lesser sentence or evading prison time, you relinquish the right to a trial by pleading guilty. For example, if charged with trafficking illegal substances, you may be able to accept a plea deal for simple possession in exchange. This is a lesser charge, meaning you will face a lighter sentence.

You have the option to request or accept a plea bargain at any point during your trial, from arraignment until the verdict is delivered.

It’s important to understand that you can request a plea bargain – however, the prosecutor may not agree to this. Similarly, if you and the prosecution can agree to a plea deal, it is ultimately up to the judge to accept this sentence.

What Are the Advantages and Drawbacks?

One of the main benefits of accepting a plea bargain is that it can help speed up your case, as you relinquish the right to a jury trial. Instead, the prosecution will inform the judge of the charges they wish to bring against you, and they will generally approve.

However, one of the significant drawbacks of accepting a plea deal is that you will be convicted of a criminal offense. When you go to trial, you have the chance to be found not guilty. A plea deal means you will be convicted, just on lesser charges or with lighter penalties.

When you are charged with a crime, it may seem like a no-brainer to agree to the offer from the prosecution. However,  you should never agree to anything without discussing your options with an experienced criminal defense attorney. You may not realize the “great deal” the prosecution offers you is no better than the consequences you’d face if you were found guilty during a trial in which you can attempt to prove your innocence.

The Law Office of Jacob A. Rudman can help if you or a loved one are facing criminal charges. Our dedicated legal team can offer the best advice for your unique situation. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you when facing a criminal conviction.

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