If you are facing criminal charges, you might find yourself wondering about possible defense options. The decisions you make now can have a profound effect on the outcome of your criminal case. Accepting a plea bargain may seem like a good criminal defense strategy, but if you are not fully aware of your circumstances and how the law applies, you could end up with more charges or a stricter sentence.
Before you accept or decline a plea bargain, consider the following ways it can affect your situation.
A conditional agreement
There is no obligation for you to accept a plea bargain. It is a conditional agreement between you and the prosecutor. By accepting a plea deal, you agree to certain conditions in exchange for a lighter criminal charge or sentence.
An admission of guilt
Plea bargains help prosecutors lighten their caseloads. It allows them to secure convictions or win their cases without going to trial. Once you accept a plea bargain, you lose the right to appeal the decision at a later date. That means if you later decide you were not thinking clearly or did not fully understand the offer or the stakes, there is no remedy because you admitted guilt by accepting a plea deal.
Plea bargains are beneficial to some offenders. It allows them the opportunity to protect themselves from the maximum penalties they face in exchange for their criminal cases. However, it is not ideal for all situations.
Before accepting any plea deal, carefully consider your circumstances and seek out legal guidance to better understand its ramifications on your criminal case. Depending on your situation, it might be better to decline the deal and go to trial.