Facing criminal allegations can be an overwhelming and confusing time for you. And while a criminal conviction might loom heavily on your shoulders, you still have options, regardless of any evidence that might be against you.
A plea bargain is one path that you might consider taking. A plea bargain is an agreement between you and the prosecution. Essentially, if you plead guilty to your alleged crime, you will face less harsh penalties than if a court found you guilty of your crime.
Still, entering into a plea bargain can be intimidating. If, however, you are considering it, you’re likely wondering what the process entails. The following are some commonly asked questions about plea bargains.
Are there benefits to a plea bargain?
Pleading guilty might go against your instincts. But if there aren’t any possible defense strategies for your case, a plea bargain can actually be more beneficial for you. Some advantages of a plea bargain include:
- Save money and time
- Avoid public court proceedings
- Know the outcome you’re facing
- Reduce your charges
- Minimize your sentencing
What types of bargains are there?
In general, there are three different types of plea bargains recognized by courts across the United States. Charge bargaining involves pleading guilty to any lesser charges you may be facing in order to get any greater charges dismissed.
Sentence bargaining involves pleading guilty to your charges in the hopes of receiving a lighter sentence. This is generally not as common as charge bargaining and can sometimes be more difficult to achieve.
The least common type of plea bargain is fact bargaining. This occurs when you agree to admit to certain facts in order to prevent other facts from coming to light. Fact bargaining is least favored by courts and attorneys.
Are there penalties for breaking a plea bargain?
A plea bargain is a contract between you and the prosecution. If either side breaks the agreement, you’ll generally have to go to court to reinforce the terms of the agreement. In addition, if you cannot uphold your end of the bargain, the prosecutor might revoke their offer. You could be subject to the initial, harsher charges as a result.
Consider your options
While a criminal conviction can be life-changing, a plea bargain can help put you on a path towards a better future. However, you shouldn’t attempt a plea bargain on your own. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help guide you through the process and seek an outcome that’s right for you.