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3 things to know about plea bargains

On Behalf of | Mar 12, 2023 | Criminal Defense

People who are facing criminal charges can’t help but wonder how their case is going to be resolved. While some work hard towards the goal of being found not guilty, others are more focused on minimizing the sentence they’ll face in the event of a conviction.

Plea deals are negotiated between the prosecution and the defense when someone is willing to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a mitigated sentence, lowered charges or both. Before accepting a plea deal, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the specific deal you’ve been offered. These are three of the primary considerations you’ll need to address with an attorney before committing to a plea deal or rejecting one.

1. Terms vary greatly

The terms of plea deals vary greatly based on the circumstances of individual defendants. Most people work out a plea agreement that offers a lesser charge than the original one or a specific sentence. It’s also possible that the terms might also include agreeing to specific facts about the case if it’s going to go to trial. Reviewing the deal that’s being presented and understanding how you may negotiate better terms is crucial. Remember, most prosecutors will only work with defense attorneys directly in re: these matters.

2. The court must approve the deal

The court must approve the plea deal in order for it to be valid. The judge will ask questions to ensure that you understand what the agreement means and to determine whether you voluntarily enter into it. The sentence must also be one that’s reasonable or the deal can be denied.

3. Appeals aren’t possible

You knowingly enter into a plea agreement, so you can’t appeal it. The document you sign to enter your plea deal will contain a statement that forbids you from appealing its terms. It’s critical that you’re fully comfortable with every aspect of the agreement before you agree to it.

Facing criminal charges of any sort is a reality that must be taken seriously. For some people, working out a plea deal is a priority. This approach should only be embraced if you fully understand the terms of the deal that’s being offered to you and the potential strength of your defense if you choose to forgo a plea deal. Working with a legal professional who understands the potential benefits and drawbacks of a plea bargain situation is going to be important so that you can explore all the options you have before you in truly informed ways.