Understanding What a Plea Bargain Is
In Texas, as in many other states, a plea bargain is a standard tool used in criminal cases to resolve charges without going to trial. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution where the accused party pleads guilty to a less severe offense or accepts a reduced sentence to avoid a trial and the risk of a harsher sentence if convicted. Today, we will discuss what is most important about plea bargains. If you are ever charged with a crime and are interested in your legal options, contacting an experienced criminal law attorney may be wise to ensure you understand your legal options moving forward.
Types of Plea Bargains
For the sake of this blog, we will be discussing two types of plea bargains: charge and sentence bargaining. Whereas charge bargaining involves the accused party pleading guilty to a less severe charge than the one they were initially charged with. For example, a defendant charged with burglary may plead guilty to criminal trespassing instead. Sentence bargaining involves the defendant pleading guilty to the original charge in exchange for a reduced sentence.
The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining
Plea bargaining can have several advantages. For defendants, it can mean a reduced sentence or a lesser charge, significantly impacting their life and prospects. It can also save time and money by avoiding a lengthy trial. For the prosecution, plea bargains can mean a guaranteed conviction, preventing the risk of an acquittal at trial. It can also mean saving time and resources that would otherwise be spent on a trial.
However, there are also some disadvantages to plea bargaining. For example, defendants may feel pressured to plead guilty even if they believe they are innocent, particularly if they face a more severe charge that carries a longer sentence. Additionally, some critics argue that plea bargaining can contribute to overcharging by prosecutors, who may use the threat of a more serious crime to force a plea deal.
The Role of Attorneys in Plea Bargaining
Attorneys play a critical role in the plea-bargaining process. Defense attorneys can negotiate on behalf of their clients and advocate for a favorable deal. They can also help defendants understand the potential consequences of accepting a plea bargain, including the impact on their criminal record and future opportunities.
Contact a San Antonio, Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been charged with a crime, you will need aggressive legal representation to give yourself a more favorable chance at a positive case outcome. Contact the knowledgeable San Antonio, Texas criminal defense lawyers with Law Offices of Sam H. Lock. Call 210-226-0965 for a free consultation.
Source - https://www.justice.gov/usao/justice-101/pleabargaining