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How Does a Plea Bargain Work?

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criminal defendant waiting for a plea bargain

When arrested, the uncertainty of your circumstances can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, this can lead to emotions that cloud your judgment. As a result, the prosecution may offer you a subpar plea bargain in the hopes that you feel as though you’re getting a great deal. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the law, this can hurt your chances of getting an adequate deal. You’ll want to keep reading to learn more about how plea bargain work and why you need a Kaufman County, Texas criminal defense lawyer to help advise you on how to proceed.

What Is a Plea Bargain?

When arrested for a crime, the prosecution will often offer what’s known as a plea bargain in the hope they can avoid a lengthy court battle. Many facing a criminal offense find this attractive as they can face reduced charges, no long trial, and certainty of the outcome. This deal allows a criminal defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence or reduced charges. The most common kinds of plea deals include:

  • Charge bargaining: One of the most common deals, this dismisses a more serious charge in exchange for a lesser offense.
  • Sentence bargaining: Less common, this deal allows you to plead guilty to the charge in exchange for a lighter sentence. However, this is not recommended, as the criminal offense is usually much more severe.
  • Count bargaining: In some instances, the prosecutor may agree to plead guilty to fewer counts while the rest are dismissed.

It is important to note that this deal can happen at any time during a criminal trial, from arraignment to the verdict. Similarly, you do not have to wait for the protection to offer a deal – you can request a deal. However, just as you do not have to accept an offer from the prosecution, the prosecutor does not have to agree to a deal from you.

When Should I Consider Accepting a Deal?

When offered a plea deal, it’s important to fully consider the implications before agreeing.

If the state has insurmountable evidence against you and you know they will find you guilty, it may be in your best interest to accept a deal, as this helps you avoid a more severe penalty. However, if there is a high probability you will be found not guilty of the offense, it could be more beneficial to proceed to trial.

You should not accept or decline a deal without consulting an experienced attorney. Not only can they advise you whether or not this is a good idea, but they can negotiate on your behalf to ensure you can get the best possible deal.

When you need assistance with your criminal trial, Harrell & Paulson can help. Our criminal defense team will work tirelessly to help you achieve the best possible outcome for the circumstances you’re facing. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.