When presented with a plea bargain, the urge to accept and end your ordeal is overwhelming. If facing violent crime charges (assault, etc.), you are probably frightened about your future. A plea bargain seems like it could make your troubles fade away, leaving you free to move on with your life.
Some proposed plea bargains are good deals, but many others are not. How can you know if the bargain is in your best interests or if it serves the prosecutor’s interests? If you take the time to learn more about plea bargains, it could help you accurately assess the value of a proposed deal.
What if you are not guilty?
If you are innocent of the crime, taking a deal could seriously compromise your overall situation. Say a former romantic partner fakes evidence leading to your arrest on allegations of assault.
If you take a plea deal, it may appear that you are admitting fault, which could hurt your job and your reputation. By contrast, a trial allows you to defend yourself and rationally inform the court of what really happened.
Are there any signs of a poor plea bargain?
There aren’t any real signs of a poor deal, but there are indicators that a prosecutor is trying to coerce you into taking the bargain. For example, the prosecutor may threaten you with increased penalties if you don’t take the deal. They may also pin additional charges on you to pressure you into acceptance. Coercive plea bargaining is both morally and legally improper.
Rather than automatically accepting an offered bargain, consider having an advocate review the deal and counsel you accordingly. It is also wise to learn more about violent crime in the state, including the possible penalties if convicted.