When Should You Accept A Plea Bargain?
Approximately 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining. Depending on the specifics of your case, accepting a plea bargain may be the best course of action if you are facing criminal charges. Before accepting a plea bargain, you must ensure you are getting a reasonable deal. So, how do you confirm that?
Before accepting a plea offer made by the prosecutor, you should ask yourself several questions. The following are some of these questions.
#1: Have I spoken to my defense attorney?
Even if you are familiar with the criminal process, you should speak to your criminal defense attorney before accepting a plea bargain. Your criminal defense attorney may have a better understanding of the possible sentences and judicial sentencing trends and can help you determine whether the plea offer made by the prosecutor is a fair one.
Your criminal defense attorney can also assess the evidence the prosecution has against you and help determine if you would be better off going to trial on your charges, or even possibly pleading guilty without an agreement. If there are problems with the prosecution’s case, the State may be willing to negotiate more lenient terms.
Your criminal defense attorney can also help you get a better deal by showing the prosecution that you are ready to fight for your rights. Prosecutors want to resolve as many cases as possible without trials while still getting convictions, because of the size of their caseloads. So, after you consult your attorney, the prosecution may be willing to offer a better plea deal because having an attorney could mean the prosecutor needs to do more work and spend more time on your case.
#2: What benefit does the offer provide to you?
You and your defense attorney should spend time assessing the benefits of the offer compared to trial. Sometimes, prosecutors negotiate pleas to push cases through the system quickly, even when the prosecutor has a weak case. You and your attorney should analyze the evidence in your case to determine whether you’d be better off at trial.
#3: Is the plea offer in my best interest?
This is often the toughest question to answer for a person facing criminal charges. This is because no matter how much time an attorney spends analyzing and preparing a case, there is never a guarantee about how the case will go. Some people choose to plead guilty even when there is a medium or even high chance they will win at trial. People do this for many reasons, but the biggest of those reasons is the mitigation of risk. The potential of spending years and years in prison after an unexpected guilty verdict can be a powerful motivator for anyone, but is especially so for people who have children or ill family members. The State knows this. When they have a problematic case, they often make a plea offer that gets a conviction but allows the Defendant to avoid prison. Some people play it safe and accept that offer, even if the case against them is weak. It’s hard to blame them. Still, every person weighs that risk differently, and so the decision to accept or reject a plea agreement is a very personal choice, and one that can only be made by the Defendant. The Defendant, of course, is the person who has to live with the consequences as well.
Speak With an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney
To get help with your criminal case, contact an experienced and dedicated Indianapolis criminal defense attorney at Rigney Law LLC.