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Should I Make a Plea Agreement or Go to Trial? Contact Us
Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > Should I Make a Plea Agreement or Go to Trial?

Should I Make a Plea Agreement or Go to Trial?


Most criminal cases are resolved through an agreement of the parties, or trial. According to research, about 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved through an agreement. However, just because most criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining does not mean you must accept a plea offer.  Whether you should make a plea agreement or go to trial depends on the specifics of your case. When it comes to deciding how best to resolve your case, a qualified criminal defense attorney can advise you on the best course of action. You should not decide to accept a plea offer without talking to an experienced criminal defense attorney.

What Is Plea Bargaining?

Plea bargaining is a crucial component of the criminal justice system. Plea bargaining involves negotiations between the Defendant and the State with the goal of closing the case without a trial. In Indiana, plea agreements are allowed for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Plea agreements benefit both the defendant and the prosecutor. For example, the defendant may face a lighter penalty, while the prosecutor secures a conviction while saving time and resources.

Once the defendant and prosecutor reach an agreement, the agreement must be presented to the court. A judge will then review the plea agreement to determine if it is fair and just. When a defendant signs a plea deal, the court is not required to accept the agreement. If, for example, a judge feels that the sentence in a plea deal is too lenient, they have the authority to reject the agreement. Whether or not the court accepts a plea agreement is entirely up to the presiding judge.

When It Might Be Wise To Make a Plea Agreement

The decision of whether or not to accept a plea offer should not be made without consulting an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Several factors must be considered before deciding whether or not to make a plea agreement or go to trial.

Depending on the specifics of your case, an attorney may advise you to resolve your case through an agreement, rather than through a trial. The following are some of the circumstances when it might be right for you to accept a plea deal:

  • You are guilty of the charges against you
  • The evidence against you is strong
  • Your defense to the charges is weak
  • You can avoid a lengthy prison sentence
  • You can avoid jail time

When It Might Be Unwise To Make a Plea Agreement

Making a plea agreement may not be the better option in several situations, including the following;

  • You are innocent of the alleged crime
  • The evidence against you is very weak
  • There is exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that excuses, justifies, or absolves your alleged fault or guilt

Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Lawyer

Our team of experienced Indianapolis criminal defense lawyers at Rigney Law LLC is committed to working with criminal defendants to help them achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.

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