Choosing To Remain Positive

What Defendants Should Know About Accepting A Plea Bargain

A plea bargain can be a good deal for some defendants. However, you must consult with a criminal defense attorney before you agree to anything. Read on to find out more about plea bargains and how they could affect your charges.

What is a Plea Bargain? 

Plea bargains are not mentioned in the US Constitution but are widely used, nevertheless. A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the state prosecutor's office. The agreement cuts the arrest-to-court timeline short because it is presented before the case comes to trial. When you agree to a plea bargain, you are also agreeing to give up a right; the right to a trial by a jury of your peers.

A plea bargain also allows those unable to be bailed out of jail an opportunity to get released months before the trial begins. Plea bargains, therefore, help keep both the jails free of inmates and the court calendars open for trials.  However, plea bargains may or may not be the best way to deal with your charges.

What Can a Plea Bargain Mean?

In many cases, a plea involves being immediately sentenced at a hearing. Often, a plea changes the charges. You might have been charged with driving under the influence (DUI) or example. The plea bargain drops the DUI charge and adds a disturbing the peace or public intoxication charge instead.

The punishment may or may not be part of the plea bargain. In some cases, you will know what to expect when the judge sentences you. However, it's possible that you won't know the details of your sentence until you appear at the hearing.

Talk to Your Attorney

Find an attorney with experience in the area. They are the most qualified to deal with plea bargains because they know the judges and the prosecutors and know what to expect from a plea bargain. Your attorney can advise you about what might happen if you decide to turn down the plea bargain and take your chances in court. You need to know the worst-case scenario for both choices.

You should also understand that a plea bargain is not the same as having all your charges dropped. If you enter a plea bargain, you are saying that you are guilty of a certain crime and are prepared to take the punishment. You always have the right to a trial if you believe you are innocent and can prove it. A plea bargain will give you a permanent criminal record that could impact many areas of your life.

To find out more, speak to a criminal defense attorney.