There may come a time when a resident of New York is arrested and charged with committing a crime. When this happens, they will have a variety of options when it comes to their legal defense. It is possible for individuals to choose to go to trial and fight the criminal charges against them. There are also situations where a person may need to consider if a plea bargain could be their best option. Some individuals believe if they take their case to trial, they will regret it. Others will ignore a plea bargain and choose a court trial. An attorney is able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of a plea bargain when it comes to an individual’s situation.
This is an agreement between the defense and prosecution in a criminal trial. It lists the details of pleading guilty to a crime and accepting the punishment as a way to avoid experiencing a long trial and more. A plea bargain takes the decision of the outcome of a case away from the jury process. This is a situation where a person is pleading guilty to a lesser charge. When this happens, they could avoid being convicted of very serious criminal charges and receiving the punishment associated with them.
PLEA BARGAIN ADVANTAGES
*Uncertainty Eliminated: This is a way a defendant in a criminal case to determine their own fate. They will not be subjected to the uncertainty of a criminal trial. It’s a way for a defendant to receive lesser charges and a reduction of the punishment they could receive if they lost their case at trial. Plea bargains have helped individuals avoid the death penalty, life in prison as well as decades of incarceration.
*Lighten Caseload: A plea bargain is also beneficial for prosecutors. This makes it possible for them to reduce their caseload. A plea bargain will assure there is a conviction. This is attractive even if it is for a lesser criminal charge. In cases involving multiple defendants, a plea bargain will give a prosecutor more time to build a case against any other co-defendants.
*Prevents Additional Criminal Charges: When a person is charged with a crime, it is common for the prosecution to try and charge as much as is permitted by law. A plea bargain will enable a defendant to not experience all of the evidentiary requirements of a trial. This means a defendant’s case will not be made worse by evidence gathering by law enforcement. If other crimes are discovered, a defendant will also be charged with them.
*Speeds Up Legal Process: A trial can take a long time, a defendant, as well as a prosecutor, may not get what they want when it’s over. A plea bargain will make things move to a conclusion much quicker. Should a defendant get a sentence they can accept, they may be able to put things behind them much sooner.
PLEA BARGAIN DISADVANTAGES
*Unfair Emotional Pressure: A plea bargain offer from a prosecutor usually comes with a time limit. This can put a defendant under tremendous pressure to make a decision. The process of a plea bargain is one that’s very controlled. Even with this control in place, the agreement to plea bargain can still be coerced.
*Innocent People Plead Guilty: It is possible for a person to be innocent of a crime and not have sufficient legal resources to gather the necessary evidence to prove their innocence. A plea bargain makes it possible for an innocent person to be punished for a crime they did not commit because they don’t have the ability to succeed at a trial. There are many situations where an innocent person may take a plea bargain because losing at trial could be much worse.
*Poor Case Investigation: In some cases, a plea bargain has led to lawyers not taking the time to prepare a case properly. It has also caused police investigations to be less than adequate. This is because some in the judicial system pursue a pleas bargain rather than trying to get justice.
*No Justice For Victims: It is possible for a person who has committed a terrible crime to plea bargain to a lesser crime. They may serve only a fraction of the punishment they would have received if found guilty by a jury. This often makes crime victims, and their families feel betrayed by the criminal justice system.