When confronted with criminal charges in California, a plea bargain might seem to be an appealing alternative to avoid the risk of a trial. However, there may be other issues that could impact the case such as sentencing laws based on previous convictions. This situation led to a man who had agreed to a plea bargain having his sentence on drug charges doubled.
The man had been arrested for a felony possession of methamphetamine. There were other felony charges lodged against him as well as misdemeanor counts. He had agreed to a deal in which there would be a no-contest plea for the methamphetamine. He would serve two years in prison and the other criminal charges would be dismissed.
Instead, since he had two previous felony convictions, the sentence was subsequently doubled to four years. The prior felonies were not connected to the most recent allegations. More than 10 years ago, he was convicted of felony burglary. Had he not come to the plea agreement, it is possible that he would have been incarcerated for eight years with a conviction.
Facing criminal allegations related to drugs can lead to severe penalties. Even those who come to a plea bargain could still be incarcerated for longer than they originally thought if there are extenuating circumstances like previous convictions. For people in a similar situation as this man, it might be preferable to try and combat the drug charges. The circumstances may be integral to an effective defense. For example, the amount of drugs the person allegedly possessed, how the case was investigated and if law enforcement adhered to protocol are all areas that could be examined by the defense to seek a favorable resolution. Consulting with legal professionals experienced in criminal law may help with a case.