Criminal courts generally offer plea bargains to individuals who are charged with crimes. If you are currently being charged with a crime, there is a good chance the court will offer a plea bargain to you. If this is the first charge you are facing and are not really sure what a plea bargain is or what it offers, here are a few things you should know.
A Plea Bargain Offers a Way to Avoid a Trial
A plea bargain is a court-offered deal that gives you an opportunity to settle the charge without going to trial. Going to trial involves allowing a court and jury to hear your case and render a decision about your case. They can decide you are innocent or guilty, and they control the outcome of the case. If you do not receive or accept a plea bargain and end up in trial, you should expect your case to drag on for months or years. Trials do not occur quickly, and they can also be costly for alleged criminals. If you would prefer to not go to trial, you should consider accepting the plea the court offers you.
A Plea Bargain Requires You to Plead Guilty to a Charge
Secondly, it is important to know that a plea bargain requires you to plead guilty to a charge. While the charge you plead guilty to might not be the charge you were originally arrested for, you will always be required to plead guilty. Plea bargains offer the court settlement and closure for cases, because they require guilty pleas, and this is one of the reasons courts offer them. If you are strongly opposed to pleading guilty to something you did not do, you could reject the offer and go to trial instead.
A Plea Bargain Often Gives a Lighter Charge and Lower Consequence
The other thing to understand is that if you go to trial and the jury renders a guilty verdict, it will be for the original crime you were charged with. If, instead, you accept a plea bargain, you will be admitting a lighter charge, and therefore, you will receive a lower consequence for the crime.
If you are facing criminal charges and receive an offer from the court for a plea bargain, discuss the offer with your criminal law attorney. You will need to discuss this to weigh the pros and cons of accepting or rejecting the offer. If you have not hired an attorney yet, you should contact a criminal law firm today.
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