In the United States, roughly 9 out of 10 cases are resolved through plea bargaining. A plea bargain is where a defendant agrees to plead guilty to charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. As statistics suggest, there are many cases in which plea bargains, especially when negotiated by an experienced defense lawyer, will result in more positive outcomes than if a case went to trial.
The truth is, though, that there are instances in which a district attorney will propose a plea bargain that is not in the best interest of the defendant. As such, the choice of whether or not to plea bargain cannot be taken lightly, and should not be made without experienced legal assistance.
Types of Plea Bargains
Primarily, the types of plea bargains that are either offered to or proposed by defendants are:
- Sentence Bargains: this guarantees the sentence the defendant will receive. Typically this sentence is less than what would be handed down if convicted in a trial.
- Charge Bargain: this allows a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge than the one of which they were initially accused.
- Count Bargain: if accused of multiple crimes, this bargain gives the defendant an opportunity to admit guilt to only one charge.
An arrest can be a frightening experience, and the above options may appear attractive to a defendant that lacks confidence in his or her case. But always remember, all plea bargaining requires a defendant to plead guilty, admitting that he or she has committed the crime in question.
Whether or not you plea bargain will directly influence you and your future. Do not make this decision hastily or without proper guidance. Contact Massachusetts criminal defense attorney James Powderly at 508-343-0676 today for the legal assistance you need.