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Should you take a plea deal?

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Plea deals, also known as plea bargains, have come to play a massive role in the handling of criminal cases in the United States. Very few criminal cases make it to trial these days, as most are settled by a plea deal before they get there.

Yet, despite their popularity, they are not necessarily a good option – at least for a defendant.

Plea deals are designed to make things easier for the prosecution

It’s prosecutors who push plea deals and who are responsible for the massive rise in their usage. These deals favor them more than the defendants – they guarantee a conviction. Although plea bargains can sometimes be a good choice for a defendant, often they are not. Often, they would have been better off taking their chances at a trial.

Deals and bargains should involve some give-and-take

If you consider a plea deal, remember you have the right to negotiate. The clue is in the name. Don’t just take the original offer; see what you can push for in your favor.

You should also remember that prosecutors are experienced bargainers, and just as a used car dealer might start with an unrealistically high price, prosecutors may suggest the consequences of not accepting a plea deal are much higher than the reality. They might say that if you go to trial, you risk a life sentence, whereas a judge would be incredibly unlikely to be as harsh.

Taking legal help to examine the options and fight your corner is crucial to enable you to make an informed decision on whether to accept a plea deal or go to trial.