The Benefits of Plea Agreements
Sept. 28, 2022
One way to resolve a criminal case is for the prosecutor and accused to enter into a plea agreement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a specific offense in exchange for the prosecutor offering the defendant some reward or benefit.
Benefits of Entering into a Plea Agreement
Placing an end to the possibility that you will be found guilty of a more serious crime at trial is one of the advantages of entering into a plea deal. It eliminates doubt from the legal system. and helps defendants ensure they won't face more serious charges for the crimes brought against them.
A plea bargain could lead to the prosecutor agreeing to drop some charges. For example, if you’re charged with three counts of distribution of a controlled substance, the prosecutor may agree to drop one or two charges in exchange for a guilty plea to one charge. This benefits the prosecutor because they get a conviction. This benefits you because you’ll have only one charge on your record, rather than three.
Reduced charges come in a variety of ways. For example, if you’re charged with a felony, you can enter into a plea agreement to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor. If you’re charged with a serious felony like robbery, the charge could be reduced to a less serious felony like grand larceny.
In a plea agreement, the prosecution or court could propose to the defendant a reduced punishment. The outcome of a trial are hard to predict so a plea agreement can result in a guaranteed light sentence. However, waiving your rights to a trial by a jury of your peers is a significant step. Your attorney should explain, in detail, the risks and benefits of going to trial before you accept a plea agreement.
Some plea agreements can defer a case for a period of time. You are placed on probation and if you comply with the terms of probation, your case could be dismissed.
Time and Cost Savings
Trial preparation can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful. Criminal defendants who hire a private attorney rather than a public defender designated by the court are responsible for paying that attorney's fees during the trial. A plea bargain can lower the cost of a trial.
After a defendant enters a plea agreement and shows up in court, their case is speedily resolved and effectively over. In most situations, they would be freed from jail if they had been there due to a failure to meet their bond requirements.
A plea agreement should be reached after the prosecution and defense sides thoroughly consider all of their options. As a defendant, know that waiving the right to trial is a huge step. However, if you decide to take a plea agreement, understand that the terms and conditions, including fees and court costs, are enforceable. Failing to uphold the terms of your plea agreement can have dire consequences.
Please Call Us
If you have been accused of a crime in Charlottesville surrounding counties, our compassionate and results-driven attorney at Bryan J. Jones, LLC, is here to help. We are dedicated to working diligently on your behalf to clear your name of false allegations and help you avoid the life-altering consequences of a conviction. Contact our office today to talk about your case.