A plea bargain is an agreement between a criminal defense attorney and the prosecution to resolve a criminal case with a defendant pleading guilty or no contest in exchange for a reduced sentence or a lesser charge.
In the U.S., the sheer amount of people that are arrested puts tremendous stress on the court systems, prisons, and jails. As a result, prosecutors and defense attorneys may agree to a sentence or charge reduction. In a plea bargain, you can:
- Reduce the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor or misdemeanor to an infraction
- Plea to set charges in exchange for not adding other charges
- Reduce the sentence based on the defendant’s lack of a record or weak evidence
- Plea to a set of charges in return for a reduced or alternative sentence in exchange for information
However, accepting a plea bargain is not a decision to be made lightly. If you accept a plea bargain, it requires you to plead guilty, which, in most cases results in a criminal conviction on your record. If you are considering agreeing to a plea agreement with the prosecution, you must look at the following:
- The offer versus the consequences: Sometimes the sentence associated with a plea bargain is so lenient when compared to the potential sentence you would face at trial, there is almost no question as to whether you should accept it.
- The ramifications of a guilty plea: Other times, there are circumstances that make a plea deal completely unacceptable. For example, if a guilty plea results in your deportation or the loss of child custody, you should take your chances with a trial.
- The strength of the prosecution’s case: Prosecutors sometimes let their personal beliefs cloud their judgment and may proceed with a weak case. When you consult with a lawyer, they can evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and let you know whether you have a strong chance of getting an acquittal.
If you have been charged with a crime, please speak to one of our Connecticut criminal defense attorneys at The Sills Law Firm to learn more. Choose us today and we can get started on building a defense to help you get your charges reduced, or possibly dismissed.