Plea Bargains Explained

Many of us believe that every criminal case ends up at trial. In reality, many cases end with a plea agreement between the defense and prosecution, which often provides a favorable outcome for the defendant. California continues to respect the boundaries of plea agreements in numerous ways. This article will explore the various laws and elements surrounding plea bargains.

Plea Bargains Explained

A plea bargain is a good option when attempting to lessen the risk involved with a trial. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution by which the defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest to criminal charges in exchange for reduced charges, dismissed charges, or the prevention of further charges being filed. Sometimes the defense attorney will recommend an even lower plea bargain sentence. Multiple offers and counteroffers can occur before a plea sentencing arrangement is reached. Plea bargains can occur at any moment during a criminal proceeding. Plea bargains are advantageous because they allow the prosecution and the defense to avoid the uncertainty of a jury. A plea bargain may involve restitution or reparation, the condition that the defendant provide information to the prosecution, or the condition that the defendant provide truthful testimony in another criminal proceeding.

How Judges are Involved in the Process

While plea agreements  cut down on the amount of time that judges have to spend on cases and eliminate the need for a case to go to court, judges can still be involved in the plea bargaining process. Judges often play important roles involving plea negotiations. They can discuss the case with the prosecutor and defense teams. While not required, judges often accept plea bargains in a high number of cases. In some cases, the judge might suggest that the judge would have offered a lesser punishment than what the prosecution has offered in the plea bargain.

Why a Skilled Attorney is Necessary

A skilled and seasoned attorney is essential to a plea bargaining process because the attorney often knows the value of the case and what others in similar situations have been offered. A good lawyer will also analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a case and discuss these elements with a client prior to any type of plea bargaining. Pleas needs to be carefully examined before a client determines whether to accept an offer and what to counteroffer. The decision to accept a plea bargain, however, ultimately rests in the decision making abilities of the client rather than the attorney.

If you face a plea agreement and have any questions about the terms of your agreement or need a skilled and experienced lawyer to help argue for the best possible terms for your plea agreement, contact the skilled criminal defense attorney Sean Leslie.