Negotiating Plea Bargains In Criminal Cases

What Are the Key Considerations When Negotiating Plea Bargains In Criminal Cases?

Most people imagine a jury trial alone resolves a criminal case in the United States. In reality, however, with the overburdened justice and criminal system in the country, most criminal charges take the route of plea bargains. In fact, 97% of federal criminal cases and 94% of state criminal cases end in plea bargains.

This means that there is a very significant chance that your criminal case may never go to trial at all. With that said, you cannot afford to simply accept any plea bargain offered by the prosecution. You should consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can negotiate with the prosecutors for the best outcome for your criminal charges.

What is a Plea Bargain?

Plea bargains are essentially agreements between the defendant and prosecutor, which relies on the defendant pleading guilty to the charges. This can be all or some of the charges for a reduced sentence. Defense attorneys usually advise their clients to accept the terms of a plea bargain if it can benefit them. The defense counsel can be a group of attorneys or a public defender.

Both sides have to see a benefit in the plea bargain to strike an agreement. In general, prosecutors are interested in obtaining an efficient resolution to the case while the defendants are encouraged to accept a commuted or reduced sentence by pleading guilty. The basic concept of plea bargains is to benefit both sides.

A key challenge to executing this simple mechanism is in the form of uneven power dynamics, race, and class position.

Factors to Consider When Negotiating a Plea Bargain

Plea bargains help criminal defendants avoid the lengthy litigation process of a trial. It also allows for negotiating for a lighter sentence. Prosecutors prefer plea bargains since it allows them to spare the court the expense and time of a trial. It also helps them free clogged dockets. If you and the prosecutor are unable to arrive at an agreement, the case will move forward to trial.

Your attorney will use their criminal practice and experience for negotiating a favorable plea deal. It is the defense attorney’s responsibility for discussing the plea deal with you and to help you make a decision. Generally, there is always room for negotiations in a plea bargain. This makes it important to hire a reputable and experienced criminal defense attorney.

Your attorney should dedicate enough hours and resources to the plea deal to review its strengths and weaknesses. These are a few factors that need to be considered:

A competent and skilled attorney will use the strengths of a case for minimizing its inherent weaknesses and negotiating the best possible plea deal. Criminal defense attorneys usually gain more information about the prosecution’s case and evidence during the plea-bargaining process. If you don’t accept the plea bargain, your defense attorney should use the new information towards building a stronger defense strategy.

Accepting the Best Plea Bargain 

You should know the steps to take to evaluate a plea bargain. The first step is to seek legal counsel from a knowledgeable defense attorney. You should make sure that you and your attorney have all your facts straight before entering negotiations. You can get a better plea deal if you can present the facts accurately and clearly. This includes documentation and evidence related to the crime, such as witness statements, police reports, and anything else relevant.

The next step to building a beneficial plea bargain is to weigh the pros and cons. Consider the benefits against the backdrop of risks associated with accepting a plea deal. Make sure you have your attorney list the risks associated with a trial proceeding. There is usually some room in negotiating a plea bargain. You should find out the kind of deal the prosecution is offering.

In most cases, experienced criminal defense attorneys already have a good idea about the plea deal they can expect from prosecutors. Your attorney can also reach out to the prosecutor to gather more information. It’s critical to carefully review the sentencing guidelines to know what to expect. Courts use established sentencing guidelines to see the kind of punishments that can be recommended.

Taking this into account, these are just guidelines, and prosecutors or judges are not required to necessarily follow them. Moreover, these guidelines can be helpful in realizing the kind of plea deal to expect and accept.

Our Trial Attorneys have the Experience to Take on the Prosecution. Get Strong Legal Representation to Fight for Your Rights.

If you or someone you love is considering a plea bargain, you should consult with the experienced criminal defense attorneys at Alsobrook Law Group. Our attorneys can help you understand your legal options and rights and get the best possible plea bargain by negotiating on your behalf with the prosecutors.

Our attorneys work with a singular goal to have the charges against our clients dismissed or reduced as far as possible. We will provide you with a free case evaluation. Call us at 334-737-3718 or reach us online.