When facing criminal charges, the prosecution may approach you with a plea bargain. In some instances, that offer seems tempting, especially when you face a serious charge. Plea bargains have both benefits and drawbacks which you should know before making your choice.
As you consider any plea deal, understand what it means for you, your case and your future.
Plea bargains mean admitting guilt
In most cases, a plea bargain requires you to enter a guilty plea in exchange for the sentencing agreement or other offering. A guilty plea leaves you with a criminal record that may interfere with your ability to get work or housing. You also sacrifice your right to appeal when you plead guilty. Consider the effect of that guilty plea on your long-term goals before accepting a deal.
Plea bargains give you greater control of your outcome
When facing a trial, the uncertainty of the jury’s decision may feel overwhelming. When you accept a plea deal from the prosecution, you know exactly what the penalty is, which provides you with greater control over your future.
Plea bargains often reduce your charges
Most plea bargains offer a lesser charge in exchange for your guilty plea. This could prove beneficial depending on the nature of the charges. For example, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor in exchange for community service is less damaging than a felony conviction and a jail sentence.
When considering any plea bargain, discuss it with your attorney before making a decision. Consider these factors and your lawyer’s recommendations when you make your choice.