3 Things You Need To Know About Plea Agreements
Plea agreements or plea bargains are agreements between defendants and prosecutors. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to some or all of the criminal charges filed against him or her in exchange for concessions from the prosecutor, such as reduced punishments.
The majority of defendants choose to accept a plea agreement to avoid the uncertainties of a trial and the prospect of harsh sentencing that can follow from a jury conviction.
The following are 3 things that are important for you to understand about plea agreements.
- You must plead guilty.
To get the benefits of a plea agreement, you are required to enter a guilty plea. The primary benefit of a plea agreement is leniency in sentencing. The drawback is that a guilty plea will be on your criminal record. This could affect you in so many ways, from getting a job to being able to vote.
- The judge presiding over your case must approve the plea agreement.
The judge, at his or her discretion, will either approve or reject the plea agreement.
When a plea agreement is reached, that means the prosecution agrees to the terms set forth in the agreement. However, in some cases the judge will reject the terms of the plea agreement. If the prosecution and defendant cannot reach an agreement that the judge will approve, then the case will proceed to trial.
- Statements made to the prosecution to further plea discussions cannot later be used against you.
Generally, statements you make to law enforcement or prosecutors can and will be used against you. However, statements you make during plea negotiations that may be incriminating and may have been admissible if offered outside of plea discussion, cannot later be used against if you decide not to accept the plea agreement.
Most criminal convictions are secured through plea agreements. Depending on the specific of your case, accepting a plea agreement may have compelling advantages. However, regardless of whether or not you want to negotiate a plea agreement, we urge you to have a criminal defense attorney by your side.
Do not talk to law enforcement officers or anyone from the prosecutor’s office without your attorney present. Have a criminal defense attorney with you:
- During all plea discussions.
- To negotiate the terms of your plea agreement.
- To advise you on whether accepting an offered plea agreement is in your best interest.
- To advise you on the risks and benefits of going to trial versus accepting a plea agreement.
If you choose to accept a plea agreement, your attorney can advocate on your behalf to help convince the presiding judge to approve the plea agreement.
Hire A Former Prosecutor to Defend You
Ashley D. Adams is a former fraud prosecutor with the United States Attorney’s Office. She understands how prosecutors operate, the best tactics to negotiate a favorable plea agreement, and how to get criminal charges dropped or dropped to lesser charges.
Contact us or call now (480) 219-1366 for a consultation and case evaluation.
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