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The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining in Criminal Cases



When you are navigating criminal charges, there’s one goal in mind: reducing the potential penalty. A plea bargain can be a way to find a resolution with the prosecution without having the uncertainty of a jury decision.


There are reasons why plea bargaining can be a good strategy, depending on your situation. But there are also potential disadvantages that also must be considered. The best thing you can do is consult with a criminal defense attorney to identify the ideal pathway forward for your unique needs. Every case is different, which is why it’s critical to weigh the pros and cons of a plea bargain.


Plea Bargain: How it Works


If you decide to use a plea bargain, it means that as a defendant in a criminal case, you are coming to an agreement with the prosecutor. You have the opportunity to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser charge and/or punishment.


For example, you might plead guilty in exchange for the prosecution reducing the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. Or, you could have a shorter sentence for time in prison – 10 years instead of 20 years.


Pros of Plea Bargaining


Some of the benefits of plea bargaining include:


  • ·You have certainty in the sentencing instead of waiting to see what a jury will decide.

  • Many people save money on criminal attorney fees because you cut out the need to go through a lengthy court process.

  • The timeline is faster, giving you a quicker resolution for the situation. As a result, you can move forward in your life sooner.

  • Plea bargaining reduces the strain on the court system by decreasing the number of criminal cases that go to trial.

Cons of Plea Bargaining


A few of the potential drawbacks of plea bargaining include:


  • Defendants who are innocent sometimes feel motivated to plead guilty because it seems like the best way to handle the situation.

  • Some people feel that plea bargaining reduces the quality of police investigations because law enforcement relies on making deals.

  • Plea bargaining could interfere with a person’s constitutional rights to a trial by jury.

  • A plea bargain leaves you with a criminal record, whereas being found not guilty through a trial could leave you with a clear record.

Criminal Defense Services


If you are facing criminal charges, then it’s essential to have an attorney to support this process. Call Miles & Hatcher, LLP to learn more about available services: (909) 481-4080.

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