Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining
A defendant in a criminal case may need to decide whether to agree when the prosecutor offers a plea bargain. The prosecutor may agree to drop charges of more serious crimes or recommend a reduced sentence in exchange for the defendant’s guilty plea to a lesser crime. Plea bargaining may lead to future consequences if the defendant becomes involved in additional criminal proceedings. The defendant should discuss the pros and cons of the plea bargain with a Sacramento misdemeanor criminal attorney.
The terms of plea bargain often depend on the current stage of the criminal proceedings. At an early stage, such as the initial appearance, the prosecutor may ask the defendant to plead guilty to a greater crime in exchange for less time in jail or immediate probation. The defendant may benefit from waiting to see the prosecutor’s case and discussing defense strategies with a Sacramento misdemeanor criminal attorney before making any plea decisions. In many jurisdictions, the judge cannot even accept a guilty plea at the initial appearance and plea bargaining must occur at a later stage such as arraignment.
At arraignment or a later stage of the case, the prosecutor may try to arrange a plea bargain and avoid going to trial. When a defendant cannot make bail, he may have to choose between staying in jail after a not-guilty plea or pleading guilty to be released on immediate probation. A guilty plea has legal consequences, including the possibility of more severe criminal charges later on if the defendant violates probation or is arrested again.
When a defendant has an opportunity to make a plea bargain, it can be a difficult decision. The defendant may want to avoid risk of a longer jail sentence or a guilty verdict if the case proceeds without a plea bargain. Sacramento misdemeanor criminal attorney Param Pabla can assess your case and discuss the pros and cons of whether to accept a plea bargain offer.