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Advantages And Disadvantages Of A Plea Deal: What You Need To Know

Plea bargains have become a popular alternative to trial in the criminal justice system. A plea deal, also known as a plea bargain, is an agreement between the attorney and the defendant. In this agreement, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a smaller charge or receive a lesser sentence. The defendant then gives up their right to a trial. While plea deals can have several advantages, they also have some downsides. Here is what you need to know:

What Are the Advantages of a Plea Deal?

One of the main advantages of accepting a plea deal is the reduced sentence. Trials can be lengthy, expensive, and unpredictable, and if the defendant is found guilty, they could face severe consequences, including prison time. By accepting a plea deal, the defendant can avoid the risk of a harsher sentence and move on with their life.

Another advantage of a plea deal is the reduced charge. In many cases, the prosecution will offer a plea deal that allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge than what they were originally charged with. This means that the defendant can avoid having a more serious charge on their record, which can have long-term consequences for their future job prospects, housing, and other opportunities.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Plea Deal?

However, plea deals also have their downsides. One of the biggest disadvantages is the risk of innocent people pleading guilty to a crime they did not commit. In some cases, defendants may accept a plea deal even if they are innocent because they do not want to risk going to trial and receiving a harsher sentence. This can result in a wrongful conviction and a lifetime of consequences.

Another disadvantage of a plea deal is the pressure it places on defendants. Prosecutors have significant leverage in plea negotiations, and defendants may feel coerced into accepting a plea deal even if they are not guilty. This pressure can be especially intense for defendants who are not financially able to afford a trial.

In addition, when you accept a plea deal, you are not going to receive the impartial courtroom process that you would if you were to go to trial. A plea deal means you are automatically pleading guilty without having the chance to see if a jury of your peers may find you not guilty.

Taking a plea deal is a major decision. Think about your options carefully and discuss the plea deal with your attorney before you decide what you are going to do. 

For more information, contact a local criminal attorney.