If you are a criminal defendant there are a number of reasons why you may want to accept a plea bargain. More often than not, as a defendant you will get the chance, to negotiate a deal. This is because; the system would prefer to get an out of court settlement. This ensures that the courts are not clogged up with court cases. A court case can take a lot of time starting form days to months and in some cases years. Whereas once a plea bargain is put through, it gets processed in minutes.
The biggest benefit for a defendant to enter a plea bargain is to get a smaller sentence for a smaller charge, instead of losing a court case. Also as the result of a trial is unpredictable, a plea bargain gives both sides a better chance of controlling the end result. Here is a look at how a plea bargain will work.
For Money Saving
If a private counsel is representing you then agreeing to a plea bargain can help you a lot of money on the lawyer fees. This is because it takes far longer to get a case to the stage of a trial vs. getting a plea negotiated.
Getting a faster resolution
It is stressful when you are charged with a crime, especially if you go to trial. Accepting a plea bargain can help you get a faster resolution for your case.
Getting free from jail
If arrested a defendant is held in custody then accepting a plea bargain is a faster way to get out of jail, especially if you are unable to do so on your own. This could be because cannot afford the bail amount, or have the right to bail, or not qualified for release based on your own character. In any of these cases a plea bargain depending on the type of crime, you can either get released completely, be released on probation and have to complete some community service acts. The last option is that you may have to serve some time, which would still be less than what you would have to undergo if you went to court.
Reducing the number of charges on one’s record
A defendant may be facing a number of charges on their record as a result of an offense. If all of them are taken to court they may result in a far severe sentence. Hence pleading guilty to a few, may persuade the other side to drop a few other charges as they would want to wrap up the case sooner as well. This can also help in the future if you are convicted again for an offense. For e.g. if you have been charged with a DUI, then accepting a plea bargain for reckless driving can help you if you are again arrested for a DUI.
More reasons for you to accept plea bargains.
- Convictions can discredit your character as a witness
- You cannot have a weapon or in some cases even vote
- Employers will refuse to hire you
- You would have to give up some professional license