A few years ago, I was in a pretty serious car accident. During the aftermath, I became really familiar with a lot of different types of lawyers. I worked with personal injury lawyers, insurance lawyers, and many others. Perhaps the most important, though, was the estate planning lawyer. I was really young, and neither my wife or I had thought about starting a will. But the accident kind of scared us into it. What would happen if one of us were to die? Even when still in the hospital, I was working with the lawyer to draw up a will. Now, I have some peace and security about what the future will be like if something should happen to me. And I have a lot of experience working with various types of lawyers! The accident was kind of a blessing in disguise in that way.
If you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being charged with a crime, you may want to consider a plea bargain. This is an arrangement with the prosecutor where you plead guilty to an offense in exchange for receiving certain considerations. Most criminal cases in the United States are decided by plea bargains rather the trials. Although not as appealing as an acquittal at trial, plea bargains, or negotiated settlements, have several benefits for defendants.
The outcome of any criminal case that goes to trial is uncertain. A jury might acquit you or they might find you guilty. The judge might give you a harsh sentence or a light sentence. Rather than dealing with the uncertainty of a trial, many defendants prefer to make a deal with the prosecutor in exchange for a guilty plea. They prefer knowing exactly what will happen to them by negotiating a plea bargain to facing the unknown outcome of a criminal trial.
In many plea bargain cases, the prosecutor gives the defendant the option of going to trial on a more serious charge or pleading guilty to a lesser charge. Many defendants find this latter option appealing, especially if they feel that a guilty verdict at trial is likely. Also, if you are facing a variety of charges, the prosecutor might offer to eliminate some charges in return for a guilty plea.
One of the main advantages of plea deals for defendants is the possibility of a lighter sentence. Prosecutors often hold out the prospect of a reduced sentence as a way of getting defendants to plead guilty. They will also consider your criminal history when making this offer in most cases. If you do not have an extensive criminal record, you may get more time taken off your sentence.
Criminal cases that go to trial generally take a long time to be resolved. Both the prosecution and the defense must have time to prepare their cases. Also, courts in many jurisdictions have a backlog of cases and might not get to your case in a timely manner. The length of time it takes to resolve criminal charges at trial is another reason some defendants take plea bargains. They want to avoid the damage done to their lives by a drawn-out legal process.
Although most criminal charges are settled by plea bargains, it's best to consult a criminal defense attorney for advice. He or she will help you decide if this option is your best choice.Share
5 January 2015