When you are facing criminal charges, it helps to have a broad understanding of your options. While you will undoubtedly be counting on your defense attorney to guide you toward justice, you may be facing some potentially confusing decisions in the coming days and weeks. You may not end up being convicted or even tried on the same charge to which you were arrested, so read on to understand more about how a plea bargain could affect your criminal case.
What is meant by plea bargain?
At some point you may be presented with a "deal" during the period between your arrest and your day in court. This deal will involve you forgoing your trial entirely and just entering a plea of guilty, and asking the judge to sentence you upon that plea. In all likelihood, you will be pleading guilty to a charge that is somewhat less serious than the one that you have been charged with or are about to charged with.
For example, you may be offered a deal that involves you pleading guilty to manslaughter instead of murder, which carries a less punitive sentence. You must keep in mind that you are under no obligation to accept this deal, and while your attorney can advise you the final say is your own. In most cases, your attorney will be able to help you evaluate your chances of being tried or taking the deal, but if you feel that you are innocent of all charges you may not wish to plead to something that you didn't do. You may be curious as to why you are being offered a plea bargain, and there are several good reasons for this practice to flourish.
Why have plea bargains?
Jail Overcrowding: Jails are not meant to house prisoners for the long term, but many of those charged with crimes sit for months and months awaiting their day in court. Some of these prisoners were not offered bail or could not afford bail. The more minor the offense, the less it makes sense to keep someone behind bars. When you are offered a plea bargain, your acceptance means that you will be either shipped off to prison or released, which frees up jail space for more serious offenders awaiting trial. Additionally, plea bargains that help the accused avoid prison also relieve congestion in those places.
Calendars are Packed: A speedy trial is a guarantee of the law, but that law can be difficult to comply with when judges and prosecutors have jammed packed calendars. A plea bargain makes it easier and quicker for everyone, and usually involves a single short appearance in front of the judge where the plea is heard and the sentence that was agreed upon is read and ordered. No need for the time, not to mention the expense, that taking a case to court would entail.
Contact a firm, like the Law Office Of Lori Crystal, LLC, form ore help.