Ask a Criminal Defense Attorney: What is a Plea Bargain?

Stockton Criminal Law AttorneyRecently, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about plea bargains, especially in cases where defendants have a chance of being found not guilty. For this post, we decided to take the opportunity to break this concept down, as understanding the nuances of plea bargains could very well help you secure a lesser punishment or avoid an unfavorable outcome altogether.

In basic terms, a plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the prosecution where the defendant opts to plead guilty, often in exchange for a lesser sentence. Like with most things within the legal system, plea bargains carry their advantages and disadvantages.

The Benefits of a Plea Bargain

It goes without saying, but the promise of a lesser sentence can be very appealing to anyone who is facing criminal charges in California. This is particularly true for cases where a defendant is all but guaranteed to be found guilty. Opting to “cut to the chase” can make a lot of sense as it saves the defendant time, money, and can help defendants get their life back on track as quickly as possible.

As far as the prosecution and the criminal courts are concerned, this is one less case that they need to deal with. Courts are constantly backlogged, and offering lesser punishments in exchange for clearing out cases makes a lot of sense. Not only that, but prosecutors might not always be entirely confident in their case against the defendant. A plea bargain helps them guarantee a conviction that might otherwise be up in the air.

When Should I Walk Away From a Plea Bargain?

The last point in particular is why defendants should think twice before they accept a plea bargain. If there is a chance that he/she might walk away without a conviction, this is always a better outcome than having to end up with a criminal record. A conviction can carry a variety of short-term and long-term implications, and could seriously jeopardize one’s future.

As always, anyone who is facing criminal charges in CA should always consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney, someone who can assess the situation at hand and help you determine the best course of action given your specific circumstances. This is where we at the Jacot Law Firm come into play, and our experienced lawyers work tirelessly to help countless clients deal with their criminal charges all across California.

If you want to learn more about what we do, and to schedule a free initial consultation, remember that we at the Jacot Law Firm are a quick phone call away. You can reach us by calling our offices directly at 209-463-1800.