If you’ve been charged with a crime, going to trial can be scary, costly, and stressful. Many people prefer to avoid a trial if at all possible; however, you don’t want to plead guilty to a crime you didn’t commit and face jail time, fines, and other consequences.
Plea Bargaining May Be an Option
Before trial, you may be able to negotiate with the prosecutor. In a criminal case, this type of negotiation is known as plea bargaining. The prosecuting attorney and your attorney will try to reach an agreement about the outcome of your case based on the available evidence, the seriousness of the charges, and other factors. Both the charges against you and your potential sentence may be negotiated during a plea bargain.
Possible outcomes of a plea bargain may include:
- The prosecutor dropping one or more of the charges against you
- The prosecutor reducing one or more charges to lesser offenses
- The prosecutor recommending a reduced sentence
Once you and the prosecutor have reached an agreement, the proposed plea bargain will be presented in court. A judge must approve it before it becomes official.
What to Know Before You Plea Bargain
Before accepting a plea bargain, you need to know whether the offer is in your best interest or whether going to trial is the better option. To make this important decision, you need to understand your legal rights, the evidence against you, and the risks of going to trial. If you plead guilty or no contest during plea bargaining, it has the same effect on your criminal record as a trial that ends in a guilty verdict.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers are here to help you. We will review the charges and evidence, negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf, and make sure you understand any plea bargain being offered. Call us, or start a live chat to learn more out more about protecting your rights and resolving the criminal case against you.