When faced with criminal charges, many people think that a lengthy trial is inevitable. However, there are other possibilities.
Criminal cases often conclude with plea bargains. Consequently, many criminal proceedings never go to trial. There are both positive and negative factors with regard to plea bargains. Exploring these pros and cons could help protect your legal interests.
What are the potential benefits of plea bargains?
Essentially, plea bargains involved the defendant and prosecution coming to an agreement. Typically, the defendant will plead guilty to some or all of the outstanding charges. In return, the prosecution will agree to make some concessions. Frequently, prosecutors make significant reductions to charges and sentences the defendant might be facing.
For a plea bargain to endure, the prosecution may require you only to plead guilty to certain charges. However, in some cases, it is also necessary for you to provide further testimony to the court.
Another potential benefit of taking a plea bargain is that you have some control over the outcome of your case. You will have been made aware of what is required of you and what the result will be if you stick to your end of the plea bargain. In contrast, the outcomes of criminal trials are often uncertain and there are never any guarantees.
Potential drawbacks of taking a plea bargain
The biggest downside to plea bargains is that they may result in innocent people being convicted. As stated, there are no guarantees in a criminal trial, even if you are innocent. Taking a plea deal may negate the risk of you doing serious jail time. However, you are also possibly giving up your right against self-incrimination and to a fair trial.
A further disadvantage with plea bargains is that you will have a criminal record. This could have a significant bearing on your life and may impact things such as employment.
Familiarizing yourself with the law relating to plea bargains is in your best interests. Doing so could help to protect your legal rights and achieve the best possible outcome in your case.