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The decision to take your chances with a jury or to negotiate a deal with prosecutors is always difficult. We carefully consider the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence, the potential penalties for conviction and what we know about the DA and the judge involved in your case. We can often work something out to avoid or minimize prison.
Sex offenders sometimes refuse plea bargains – why?
In sex crime cases I have seen how – at times – denial, pride and hope influence a defendant’s decision to go to trial, despite the likelihood a jury will convict and impose greater punishment than the plea offer.
Defendants deny their wrongdoings because crimes against children are deemed by society as more heinous. Other than murder, crimes against children are the most serious under the law, so courts settle child abuse cases as quickly as possible.
These cases have a priority established as law and enforced by the Courts. They are always the first on the docket.
Prosecutors often work closely with law enforcement agencies and child advocacy groups to gather enough evidence to prove sexual abuse crimes. In some cases they offer a compromise: a plea agreement to a result significantly less than the maximum in exchange for a defendant’s guilty plea.
What Defendants Should Know About Plea Bargains
In most situations, criminal cases end in plea bargains from the court.
Criminal lawyers can help during this tough time and help their clients understand the offer. Plea bargains happen before the case goes to trial, and the sentence is always lesser than it would be if the client goes to trial.
Why the Accused is Offered a Plea Bargain
Any outcome for a client and their case is unpredictable. Fortunately, this is why the state will offer criminal lawyers and their client a plea bargain. Statistics show that about 90% of convictions end in the offered plea bargains, and the rest of the clients have their case taken to trial.
Some of the benefits of accepting the plea bargains are:
• The matter is resolved quickly. Taking the case to trial can be a long, stressful process.
• Getting out of jail: If the criminal is in custody and has no chance or opportunity to be bonded out, then a plea bargain is the other option for jail release.
• Fewer offenses on the criminal’s record.
Types of Plea Bargains
There are a couple of plea bargains that are common among the court system. The most offered one is a charge bargain, and the second is a sentence bargain. At times the offer can be a combination of both kinds of offenses.
• Charge bargain: This occurs when the defendant is offered, by the prosecutor, to “plead guilty to a lesser charge.” In some cases, the defendant can plead guilty to only a few of the charges that he or she received.
• Sentence bargain: Many jurisdictions do not use this plea bargain because Judge’s are reluctant to accept an agreement that limits their authority at sentencing. If they do then the prosecutor informs the defendant beforehand what the sentence will be before a plea of guilt. This usually allows the prosecutor to convict the defendant with the an agreed upon charge that is acceptable but still results in a reasonable and fair sentence.
The prosecutor has the authority to revoke the defendant sentence agreement if he or she does not complete all of the duties that are involved such as community service or specific classes. Our law firm can help in every situation and use all of H. Michael Steinberg’s years of experience to help the client receive the less harsh punishment.
Call (303) 627-77777 – the call may save your criminal record.
Should I Agree to a Plea Bargain?
The vast majority of criminal cases — over 90 percent — are resolved through plea bargain. Plea bargains occur when the defense and the prosecution reach an agreement, which usually entails the defendant agreeing to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a lesser charge or a lighter sentence. The agreement is then presented to the judge for consideration, and if the judge feels that the resolution is fair to all parties, he or she will make it official.
Why do so many people agree to plead guilty or no contest instead of going to trial? For the defendant, the advantages can be many. Taking a case to trial is a gamble, and a lot of people charged with a crime prefer to take a deal rather than risk getting a stiffer punishment. Depending on the crime, a plea bargain can quickly resolve the case and result in the defendant being released from jail. Pleading to a lesser charge results in a less serious offense on your criminal record. A lot of people simply want to avoid the hassle and cost of a criminal trial, or feel that loved ones would be better off if the matter was resolved more quickly.
For prosecutors and judges, accepting a plea is usually a matter of practicality. For better or worse, there are simply not enough resources or time to take every case to trial. Prosecutors have a never-ending stream of work and plea bargains help them resolve issues quickly so they can move on to the next case. Judges have to take into account not only their own calendars (court schedules) but also crowded prisons and overworked state employees. In most cases, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges keep fairness at the forefront of these types of negotiations, but the need for speed does certainly enter into the equation.
As for whether you should take a deal, it depends on your particular case, the circumstances surrounding it, and your criminal history. A good defense attorney will give you the straight story as to what your chances at trial would likely be, and whether you would be better off accepting a plea bargain. While it may seem that they, too, are trying to hurry you through the system, and honest and experienced attorney will put your best interests ahead of getting your case over with. Despite what an attorney may know or recommend, the only person who can decide to take a plea is you, and you will have to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and your loved ones