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How to figure out if a plea deal is right for you

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

When you’re charged with a criminal offense, the potential penalties can set you on edge, leaving you worried about the future. For many who have been accused of criminal wrongdoing, their main fear is going to jail or prison, but there are collateral consequences, too, including fines, derailment of your career, and damage to your standing in the community.

Although you might feel like your criminal case is getting out of your control, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are several ways to steer the direction of your criminal case and its outcome. One of them is by considering whether a plea deal is right for you, especially considering there’s a good chance that you’re going to be offered one of these agreements before your case heads to trial.

Is a plea bargain right for you?

A plea bargain may or may not be in your best interests. Before deciding whether to accept one of these deals, you need to conduct a holistic analysis of your case so that you can make the decision that’s best for you. This includes looking at the following:

  • The evidence against you: Ultimately, you should only accept a plea deal if the risk of going to trial weighs heavier than the potential rewards. Part of that analysis, then, involves looking at the evidence that the prosecution intends to present against you. If it’s overwhelming, then there’s going to be a lot at risk when going to trail. If not, then you might have a good chance of beating the prosecution by taking your case in front of a jury.
  • Police errors: The police are far from perfect. They oftentimes make mistakes that infringe on your rights, thereby putting you at risk of conviction based on illegally obtained evidence. If these errors are present in your case, then you might be able to suppress some of the prosecution’s most damaging evidence. This could give you a lot of leverage at the bargaining table, and it could even lead to dismissed charges. So, don’t agree to a plea deal before figuring out if the police made a mistake in your case.
  • The penalties in play: A plea agreement is meaningless unless you have something to compare it to. Don’t just take prosecutor’s word that the offer is a good one. Instead, research what you could be facing if you’re convicted at trial so that you know how the penalties in the plea agreement stack up.
  • The collateral consequences: A conviction doesn’t just threaten your freedom, it can also derail your career and make it difficult for you to obtain subsequent employment and housing. It could even negatively impact your ability to spend time with your children. Think through whether you’re willing to agree to those collateral consequences through a plea bargain before signing off on one.
  • Your history: If you have a criminal record, then a conviction at trial could lead to tougher penalties compared to those imposed by a plea agreement. Take that into consideration when analyzing your circumstances and making your decision.

Figure out the best path forward in your criminal case

There are a lot of different ways to approach your criminal case. You have to choose the one that’s right for you can puts you in a strong position to protect your rights and your future. If you want to learn more about your criminal defense options, then please continue to read our website.