You’ve been charged with a serious offense, but the prosecutor is offering a plea deal. Should you take it?
What’s the value of a plea deal?
Essentially, the main benefits of a plea deal include the fact that they eliminate uncertainty and can result in a lower sentence than you may receive if you take the case to trial and lose.
That can be attractive, but there are a few things you have to consider first:
- A plea deal is the same as a conviction on your record. You will be required to acknowledge your guilt in court. If you’re innocent of the charges, that may present moral and ethical issues you need to address.
- The prosecutor can only recommend the sentence to the court. While judges will usually follow the prosecutor’s recommendation, there’s always a possibility that it won’t happen in your case.
- You lose any right of appeal. If you later regret your plea, you cannot do anything about it.
None of this is to say that a plea deal isn’t a good idea. It all depends on the facts of your particular situation.
How do plea deals work?
Plea deals are handled between the defense attorney and the prosecutor. Typically, prosecutors won’t work directly with the defendant so it’s a good idea to let your attorney know if you’re interested in one.
There are several areas that the plea deal can cover. This includes the charge itself, the sentence, or the facts presented. It’s possible that your attorney may be able to work out a lesser charge than your original one. They might work out a deal for a sentence recommendation. In some cases, the plea deal can stop certain facts or evidence from being presented at a trial.
Remember: Your defense attorney is on your side. If you think a plea deal isn’t a good idea, you can still fight the charges in court. When you’ve been charged with a crime, get help as soon as you can.