Deciding about accepting a plea deal is not an easy decision to make. Adhering to the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorneycan help you reach a favorable outcome. As a criminal defense attorney, I have helped my clients negotiate favorable plea deals and take cases to trial. Read on to learn whether or not accepting a plea deal is in your best interest.
Plea Bargain Overview
A plea bargain occurs when you, or your attorney acting on your behalf, agree to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for the prosecutor reducing the more serious charge(s) asserted against you.
More than 95% of convictions in America are reached through plea bargains, in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for leniency. Many convictions also depend on the testimony of a “cooperating witness”, who snitches for the same reason.
The judge will have the final determination on accepting or rejecting the plea deal. Therefore, regardless of what the prosecution may promise, they cannot guarantee that the judge will accept the plea deal. For example, Superior Court judge rejected a plea agreement made by a defendant who was accused of stalking his ex-wife and violating a restraining order. Judge Robert Reed concluded that the defendant’s plea was “inconsistent with the interest of justice.”
Plea Deal Negotiations
You should never enter any type of plea — especially a plea of guilt — without first consulting with a criminal defense attorney. Hiring a criminal defense attorney should be your top priority if you are charged with a serious felony, and in some cases, misdemeanors. An attorney can negotiate the alleged offense to a lesser charge and which if accepted, lessen any possible jail time you may face, in addition to a reduction in court fines and fees.
Remember, your innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Do not let the prosecutor pressure you into admitting that you have committed a crime. Everyone deserves due process and is entitled to challenging the criminal offense(s) asserted against him/her.
Rejecting a Plea Deal
There are some circumstances in which rejecting a plea deal will be in your best interest. Most attorneys may advise their client to reject a plea deal if the prosecutor has a weak case and the weight of the evidence shows that their client did not commit the alleged criminal offense.
Do not make a hasty decision when deciding whether to enter a plea of guilty or innocence. Ask your attorney any questions you may have regarding the consequences of your decision.
A plea for change
Judge rejects plea deal of man accused of stalking ex-wife in Warren County violating restraining orders