Everything You Need to Know About Plea Bargaining in Criminal Defense

Juliet D'cruz

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Everything You Need to Know About Plea Bargaining in Criminal Defense

The first thing that comes to mind when someone says “criminal case” is the long trial process. But in reality, most cases don’t even go to court. Yes, almost 94% of state criminal cases and 97% of federal criminal cases don’t go to court. The same goes for civil cases.

It is only in movies that all criminal cases go to court. Most criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains. Plea bargains offer a quick resolution. However, there are many criticisms of the plea bargain rule, especially how it is executed.

When you face a criminal charge, seek the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. A criminal defense attorney will analyze your case and advise on the best course of action to take for your particular case. Speak with a lawyer to know more about how a criminal defense attorney can help you dismiss a criminal charge.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is when the defendant pleads guilty to the crime, and the defendant and prosecutor come to an agreement. The defendant pleads guilty, usually in exchange for a reduced sentence. A plea bargain is achieved when it is beneficial for both parties. While it sounds simple and beneficial to the public, it has many problems.

The difference in power dynamics plays a major role in plea bargains. The prosecutors usually have the upper hand in plea bargains. They coerce and force confessions from defendants. 

In addition, one of the common criticisms that people have against plea bargains is racial bias. According to a study, white people are 25% more likely to receive a reduced sentence than black people. This shows that racial bias exists in the field of law too. 

Pros of Plea Bargain

Let’s make a pros and cons list to know more about the plea bargain rule. Following are the pros of a plea bargain:

  • The primary benefit of a plea bargain is the reduced sentence for your crimes. For example, you might be off the hook just by serving two years for a crime that deserves four years in jail.
  • A trial comes with many expenses. From transportation to court costs, you will incur a lot of expenses. Losing a case after all that expense hurts you even more. 
  • Another benefit of plea bargains is that you have certain control over the process. A trial process is volatile and unpredictable.

Cons of a Plea Bargain

  • You could be forced to plead guilty even though you are innocent. Prosecutors follow many strategies to convict an innocent person for a crime they didn’t commit. Again, racism plays a major role here.
  • You are not allowed to defend yourself. You will never have a chance to prove your innocence. Once you agree to the plea bargain, that’s the end of it. You will have a criminal record now.
  • When you initiate a plea bargain, you lose certain constitutional rights.

Unless you committed the crime, you should never agree to a plea bargain. Your lawyer will fight for you and prove your innocence. Hope this blog post helped you understand plea bargains. Speak to a criminal lawyer about whether to accept a plea bargain or not for your case.

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