One of the options that may be available to someone facing a criminal charge
is to take a plea bargain. Unlike taking a case to court and waiting for
the judge and jury to determine what their sentencing will be, a plea
deal is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecutor whereby
the accused pleads guilty or nolo contendre to charges in exchange for
reduced criminal penalties or being accused of a lesser criminal offense.
Usually, a plea bargain is offered when the criminal courts become crowded
and there are numerous cases that are attempting to get through the system,
but can occur in any criminal case.
Plea Bargains & Your Criminal Case
One of the benefits of a plea bargain is allowing the prosecutor to have
some control over the outcome of the case and the defendant to take authority
over what is happening instead of leaving it in the hands of the court.
A skilled criminal defense attorney will analyze the details of the case
before figuring out whether or not a plea bargain is in their client’s
There are two types of plea bargains that can be negotiated:
- Sentence: Lighter sentencing to a guilty or nolo contendre plea.
- Charge: Existing charges are reduced or eliminated in exchange for a plea.
Importantly, a plea bargain can occur at any point in the criminal proceedings,
beginning when a suspect has been arrested until the point when a jury
returns into the courtroom to offer a deal. When a jury is unable to come
to a unanimous decision concerning the innocence of the accused, the prosecutor
may offer a plea deal in order to help speed along the criminal process.
No matter if a suspect pleads guilty or no contest to the charges they
are facing, the defendant is considered guilty and the charges will appear
on their criminal record, including the loss of any rights they would
have if they were convicted in a trial. If you are wondering how you may
be affected by a plea bargain, we encourage you to contact Curcillo Law, LLC for a
free case consultation. Our attorneys can explain your rights and options moving forward.