The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Legal Blog

Understanding plea bargains: Careful consideration is crucial

If you are facing criminal charges in Sugar Land for a drug offense or something more serious, it helps if you understand how the criminal justice system works. Not all criminal cases go to trial; a lot of them are settled with plea bargains. When choosing to accept a plea bargain, it is important for you to compare its pros and cons with the advantages and disadvantages of going to trial. Sometimes it is more beneficial for defendants to go to trial instead of accepting plea bargains.

There are several types of plea bargains. To better understand how plea bargaining may benefit your situation consider the fact that if the prosecutor decides to extend a plea bargain to you, it could be any of the following:

Fact bargaining

The prosecutor may decide that the case is best suited for trial. Though the case is headed for trial, the prosecutor can offer a fact plea deal. A fact bargain deal does not include an offer of a lighter sentence or reduced charges or a reduced sentence. Instead, the defendant admits to certain facts in exchange for the prosecution not to include certain pieces of evidence in the case.

Sentence plea deals

The courts and prosecutors have heavy caseloads. Sometimes, the prosecution will offer defendants a deal where they must plead guilty to the charges they face. The benefit is the defendant gets a lighter sentence than the one they were originally facing.

Charge plea bargaining

The defendant receives an offer for reduced charges. Upon acceptance, she or he must plead guilty to the lesser charges. The prosecutor dismisses the higher charges against the defendant. In some cases, a defendant will have multiple charges. When there are multiple charges, the prosecution usually dismisses the other charges if the other terms of the plea bargain are met.

Plea deals are not offered to every defendant that has criminal charges. It is important for defendants to carefully review their plea bargains and every element of their charges before accepting or declining their plea bargains. Because plea bargaining is a negotiation process between the defense and prosecution, good legal representation is necessary to help defendants minimize the consequences they face.

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