Advantages and Disadvantages of Accepting a Plea Bargain
Most criminal cases do not go to trial. If you are facing criminal charges, the District Attorney will likely offer you a plea bargain. A plea bargain essentially involves pleading guilty to a lesser charge that carries a lighter sentence rather than risking going to trial and facing more severe penalties.
If you have been accused of committing a crime, you have a right to be tried by a jury of your peers. Sometimes, however, a plea “bargain” is no bargain at all.
Advantages of Accepting a Plea Bargain
Accepting a plea deal could have a number of benefits for you if you are facing criminal charges. These advantages include:
- You can avoid the time and expense of a jury trial — Trials can drag on for weeks and months and are very expensive.
- You can avoid the uncertainty of a jury trial – It is impossible to predict the outcome of a jury trial. If you go to trial and are found guilty, you will likely face a longer sentence than you would if you had accepted the plea bargain.
- You can get a reduced sentence — You could avoid prison time by agreeing to a plea deal that does not involve serving time in prison.
- You could avoid receiving a strike on your record – If you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge, you could avoid getting a strike on your criminal record if the lesser charge is not a serious crime that counts as a strike.
Disadvantages of Accepting a Plea Bargain
While a plea bargain might sound like your best option, that is not always the case. Prosecutors could be attempting to make you feel like you are getting a good deal when you are not. If you accept a plea deal, the following disadvantages could follow:
- You will be pleading guilty or no contest to a crime – If you agree to plead guilty or no contest to a lesser charge, you will be unable to be acquitted of these charges, and the conviction will appear on your criminal record.
- You may still face harsh punishment – Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could still wind up paying the consequences for the rest of your life if you accept a plea deal. Although an agreement in which the charges against you are reduced to a lesser charge is in place, the criminal charge you agree to plead guilty to could still result in severe penalties such as lifetime sex offender registration.
How to Determine if You Should Accept a Plea Deal
If you are being offered a plea deal, here are some issues involved that you must consider:
- Will the lesser charge still require lifetime registration as a sex offender?
- If you plead guilty, can you ever get your criminal record expunged?
- Will a guilty plea bar you from gaining United States citizenship?
- If you plead guilty to the lesser charge, can you be deported?
- Is the crime you are being asked to plead guilty to a strike?
- Will you do jail time or receive probation?
- How strong of a case does the D.A. have?
Before you accept a plea bargain, you should know precisely what punishment you face for the reduced charges. These are the types of questions an experienced criminal defense attorney can answer for you so that you can make an informed choice regarding your case.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are facing criminal charges, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you determine your best course of action. At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled attorneys can advise you when and if you should accept a plea bargain. We have been successfully defending our clients facing criminal charges for over 40 years. We can help you now.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.