The implications of a criminal conviction can be resounding, especially if it’s drug-related. The stigma that attaches to you may have long-lasting ramifications for your employment and housing prospects, but a conviction can also leave you facing the very real possibility of prison time, fines and other penalties that threaten to put you in a vulnerable position for a long time to come.
That’s why when the prosecution approaches you with a plea deal, you need to think carefully about whether it’s right for you. It can be a difficult analysis to conduct, especially when the evidence against you is significant. However, before agreeing to anything offered by the prosecution, you should carefully consider each of the following:
- What the plea deal offers? Your first step is to carefully look at the plea deal to see what it offers. Analyze the penalties that will be imposed and the charges to which you’ll be pleading guilty. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting into if you agree to the plea deal.
- What’s at risk by going to trial? Once you have the plea deal in hand, you’ll want to compare it with the potential penalties that could be imposed if you go to trial and lose. If there isn’t much difference, you don’t have much to lose by going forward with litigation. If the plea deal lightens the penalties significantly, though, you might have a tougher decision to make.
- What arguments are available to you? Even if the prosecution has a mountain of evidence against you, you still might be able to beat them by using key defense arguments. For example, if narcotics were seized after an illegal traffic stop, you might be able to suppress that evidence and prevent it from being used against you. If you don’t have very strong defense arguments, you’ll probably want to consider taking a plea deal.
- What’s the prosecution going to present? Remember, the prosecution carries the burden of proving your guilt. So, you might be able to beat the charges levied against you even if you don’t have strong defense arguments if the prosecution has insufficient evidence to present against you. Therefore, before taking a plea deal, you’ll want to analyze what the prosecution intends to present against you.
- What you’re willing to live with? The penalties that may be imposed on you from a plea deal can be significant. But going to trial can be risky, too. Once you’ve analyzed the evidence, you’ll have to make a decision that you’re comfortable with. That can be hard to do under the circumstances, but an attorney might be able to help you better see every implication of each potential decision.
There’s certainly a lot at stake in your criminal case. And you only get one shot to make a choice that you think is best for you. Therefore, you’ll want to be as diligent as possible and fully yourself educate on the matters that you’re confronting before deciding how to move forward.
Do you need legal guidance?
A lot of people who are accused of criminal wrongdoing simply agree to accept a plea deal without giving much consideration to their defense options. While this certainly leads to quick resolution, it can put you in an otherwise avoidable position that you don’t want to be in.
That’s why you may benefit from some legal guidance as you navigate your case. With an advocate on your side, you might be able to find a path forward that protects your interests and your future. If you want to learn more about how to build a criminal defense strategy that’s best for you, please consider reaching out to an experienced law firm that has a track record of successfully handling these kinds of cases.