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The link between race and the terms of a plea bargain

When Maryland defendants decide to accept a plea bargain, they may not feel they are doing so willingly. While an individual may not want to plead guilty in a case, it may mean going home in a timely manner instead of sitting in a jail cell. This may be especially true for those who may not be able to afford bail.

There may be a racial element in play when it comes to plea terms a person may be offered. A researcher from the Loyola Law School found that white defendants may be more likely to receive favorable terms compared to black defendants. This was determined by looking at 30,807 Wisconsin misdemeanor cases over a period of seven years. Even if a defendant didn't have a prior criminal record, a white person is more likely to have charges reduced compared to a black person.

This may suggest that prosecutors are using race as a factor when determining if a defendant may be a threat to society. As a result, race may play a role when determining bail for a given individual. If a person is able to pay, it may provide a greater opportunity for that person's lawyer to review the case and possibly negotiate a more favorable outcome.

Individuals who are facing a criminal charge may be better equipped to navigate the legal system with the help of an attorney. An attorney may help an individual get reasonable bail and may also be able to get charges reduced or dismissed. This may make it easier for a person to avoid a criminal record or avoid being charged with a felony.

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