Should you Agree to a Plea Bargain?

Plea Bargains in Phoenix AZ Arizona Lawyers
Plea Bargains in Phoenix AZ Arizona Lawyers

Why would a defendant agree to a plea bargain?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, there are times when it makes sense to take a plea bargain, rather than go to trial. For most defendants, the greatest reason to enter into a plea bargain is to receive a lighter sentence, be charged with a less severe crime, or both. By retaining the right criminal defense attorney, you can rest easy knowing you are in good hands when deciding whether to go to trial or negotiate a plea bargain.

Reducing Your Sentence

The vast majority of the time, a defendant who enters into a plea bargain will not only plead guilty to a lesser crime but they will also receive a lighter sentence. Taking this route will provide the defendant with a known reality. By going to trial, a defendant is taking a gamble and putting his or her fate into the hands of the judge and jury. Defendants may not want to relinquish that control.

Reducing The Crime Charged

If the crime for which you have been charged is a DUI, you should expect a plea bargain for a crime that does not include any jail time. You will probably have to pay fines and do community service but you should not have to spend any time in jail.

But if you have been charged with a more severe crime, like second degree murder, you will most likely still have to spend time in jail. However, if you make a good deal on the plea bargain and get the crime reduced to voluntary manslaughter, you will not have to spend as much time in jail. Depending on the crime, spending time in jail might be unavoidable. But if you can spend less time in jail by pleading to a lesser crime, that’s an option you want to consider.

Reducing Jail Time

A second reason defendants may choose to enter into a plea bargain is jail time or rather, lack thereof. If the crime is small enough and the defendant has been held in jail during the pretrial time and plea bargain negotiations, the defendant may receive a credit for time served. This means, once the plea bargain is finalized, the defendant would be free to leave jail. Clearly, this is a very appealing proposition.

As mentioned above, another reason defendants enter into plea bargains is to reduce the seriousness of the crime on their record. Yes, pleading guilty still reflects negatively on one’s background. However, the crime would be less severe. This, too, is an appealing reason to enter into a plea bargain.

Reducing Legal Expenses

One of the most expensive components of being in court is the legal fees. Entering into a plea bargain greatly reduces those fees a defendant would be required to pay to their attorney. The defendant certainly has to pay for the fees incurred for negotiating the plea bargain and representing them in court. But this cost is a fraction of what trial costs would be.

There are many reasons why defendants would enter into a plea bargain. However, each defendant and each situation is unique. Prosecutors are paid to get convictions. Utilizing the services of an experienced defense attorney will show the prosecutor you mean business and give you a better chance of receiving a good plea bargain that reduces your sentence, your embarrassment, and your cost. This is why you need to be sure you have the right representation to guide you through the plea bargain process to ensure you receive fair and just treatment. Call us today to arrange a free legal consultation with one of our experienced Phoenix criminal defense attorneys.