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What rights do you waive with a plea deal?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2022 | Criminal Defense

When the prosecution offers you a deal to plead guilty to lesser charges in exchange for a lighter sentence, it may seem like a good bargain. However, there is more to it. There are certain rights that you waive when you accept a plea deal.

It explains the importance of carefully weighing your options before rushing to agree to a plea bargain. Otherwise, you may lose out. Here are some rights that you could lose after taking a plea deal.

The right to a jury trial

Everyone facing criminal prosecution has a constitutional right to a trial by jury. However, agreeing to a plea deal means pleading guilty, and there is no need for a trial in the first place. As a result, there are no chances of being found innocent after accepting a plea deal.

The right to confront witnesses

A plea deal does not involve witnesses since it is not a trial. The right to confront witnesses is vested in the constitution but only applies during a trial.

The right to appeal your sentence

In most cases, you also waive your right to appeal. It means that you will have to make do with the sentence rendered by the judge since you plead guilty. However, there are exceptional circumstances where you can successfully file an appeal.

The right against self-incrimination

You have a Constitutional right not to provide self-incriminating information. However, you waive this right when you agree to a plea deal. As a condition, you may be required to give a statement admitting to the details of your crime.

Protecting your legal rights

If you are facing criminal charges, chances are high that you will be offered a plea deal. It is how most cases are resolved in the criminal justice system. 

Therefore, it is necessary to seek legal guidance before accepting such a deal, given the implications of pleading guilty. It will ensure that you make the right decision based on the prevailing circumstances.