One of the ways that criminal justice cases are handled is through a plea deal. For the prosecutor, this enables them to free up valuable assets for other clients. For the defendant, there is some measure of control over the outcome of the criminal case.
The plea deal is usually handled early. There are several things that can go into these agreements, so it is imperative that defendants carefully consider each point. Look at all impacts the arrangement will have on your life.
When is a plea appropriate?
A plea deal is only appropriate for defendants who admit that they committed the crime. You shouldn’t ever agree to a plea deal if you aren’t guilty of that charge because you can’t appeal a plea deal. Courts will often encourage people to utilize the plea deal system if they meet that requirement because it relieves some of the overcrowding of the criminal justice court system.
How are these deals made?
Most prosecutors will only deal with a defense attorney to make a plea bargain. Defendants representing themselves might not be able to make a deal. Coming to the terms of these deals can be a challenge. There is often some back and forth between both sides. The deal terms are merely suggestions. The court retains the option of issuing a different sentence or changing some of the terms.
What terms can be negotiated?
It is possible to negotiate a lesser charge, a specific sentence or suppression of some evidence. One of these can be the focus, but it is often possible to include more than one in the negotiations. The goal is for the case to be resolved while issuing an appropriate sentence. Your attorney can discuss the possibilities with you so that you know what is possible.
How can a plea deal impact my life?
A plea deal is a conviction in the eyes of the law. The charges that are included in the plea deal will be on your criminal record. You will have to deal with any collateral consequences, including being branded as a felon, once the plea deal is accepted by the court. Discuss specific impacts of your situation with your attorney so you know what to expect.