A plea bargain is a deal made between you (the defendant) and the prosecutor who is working to convict you. You usually will be advised to plead guilty, or possibly “No Contest” to reduce your sentence if you’ve been charged with a serious or even criminal offense. Typically, if you accept the plea bargain, you will not go to trial, where many times the outcome can never be certain. The charges against you may be reduced and your criminal defense lawyer will design the plea bargain to act in your favor and lower your charges, or reduce your jail time, or more.
Inherent in the plea bargain are concessions that the prosecution will make in exchange for your guilty plea. Typically, the concessions that the prosecution makes involve reducing your jail time, the charges against you, or agreeing to a less severe sentence altogether.
Plea bargains are often criticized as a way of shortchanging the criminal justice system, often encouraging those who are innocent of crimes to plead guilty to things they did not do and allowing those who are guilty of profoundly serious crimes to escape with fewer consequences. However, the truth of the matter is that like it or not, most criminal cases end in a plea bargain.
In most cases, the biggest benefit of a plea bargain for you is the value of having your case resolved, and to secure charges, or a sentence, which is less severe than usually mandated for the crime you were originally charged with. Accepting a plea bargain can also help you save a lot of money on legal fees when private counsel is representing you and avoid going to trial where the outcome may be completely uncertain.
A properly drafted plea bargain arrangement will facilitate a quicker resolution to your criminal case, and it intends to ensure that each side gets a favorable result. You could avoid getting a more severe punishment for the crimes for which you were charged, save time and money in legal fees, court costs, and fines. The prosecutor maintains their stature also, as the defendant will receive some sort of punishment.
In addition, the court’s schedule becomes more manageable with fewer cases going to trial and saves time and money for the court system.
It’s mandatory to keep in mind that although a plea bargain may sound, and be, a better deal for you and the outcome of your case, only your Boston criminal defense lawyer will help you determine your best legal path. The prosecutor works for the state, and not for you. Your knowledgeable, experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer will provide you with the advice that is in your best interests!
Is It Always in My Best Interests to Accept a Plea Bargain?
If you and your criminal defense lawyer formulate an aggressive defense, that will work for you, then your lawyer may not advise you to accept a plea bargain. So, depending on the specific details of your case, the evidence held by the prosecution, and many other factors, a plea bargain is not always the best legal path to follow.
The most serious disadvantage to a plea bargain is that if you are innocent of the crime, and are being charged, by accepting a plea bargain you still are going to plead guilty to a crime you did not commit. Whether or not doing this is in your best interests depends entirely upon the specifics of your singular case, and what you may lose if you do not accept the plea bargain. The only rational way to determine whether accepting a plea bargain is the right choice for you is to immediately consult with a Suffolk County criminal defense lawyer. They will sift through the facts, evidence, and all pertinent details of your case and provide you with the answers that you need and are always in your best interests.
How Do I Know When to Accept a Plea Bargain?
Always keep in mind that the prosecution will not offer you a plea bargain deal out of kindness. They have their agenda, and the offer they give you is designed to serve their interests only. They may feel (or know) that they do not have a convincing case against you but may be under pressure to convict you for a lesser offense.
Facing the possibility of jail, high fines, and more is immensely stressful, and you might be tempted to accept their offer so that you can diminish your suffering and move on with your life. This is exactly where your experienced criminal defense attorney is critical to your future. Your lawyer has been involved in a myriad of these cases, and their experience will provide them the insight to evaluate the prosecutor, and their case effectively. They alone can advise you on whether the plea deal can be improved or modified, or whether taking the case to trial is a better idea.
What Can I Lose By Accepting a Plea Bargain in Boston?
If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense, admittedly you are in a serious situation. A guilty or no contest plea is still establishing your guilt, and the conviction will usually give you a permanent criminal record. You may lose certain rights or privileges, such as the right to vote, to own firearms, or even affect your career. In some cases, you may lose your right to appeal by entering a plea bargain. So, there’s unfortunately always a downside.
But don’t lose hope, as your experienced criminal defense attorney may include the ability to negotiate a plea bargain that allows you to seal or expunge your criminal record after your probation period. If this can be negotiated, then when filling out an application for a job or apartment, etc., you will not be required to disclose your arrest or conviction.
As complex as these cases are, surely you begin to see that the value, experience, and advice of your attorney are desperately needed. Don’t try to navigate this process on your own, as your entire future is in the balance.
I’m Considering Taking a Plea Bargain On My Case, How Should I Proceed?
Consulting and retaining an expert, experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer is the most important, and the first step you should take. The criminal defense team at Toland Law, LLC has a solid record of success for the aggressive representation of the citizens of Boston. Their purposeful actions, empathy, and reputation for success will help to ensure the best outcome for your case. Consult with them first, and put your future in solid, competent hands.