Should A Plea Bargain Be Accepted?
In some cases, a plea bargain may be in your best interest; however, that is not the case in every situation. Until you consult with a Michigan criminal defense attorney, you will not know for sure if you should accept a plea bargain. It is not the prosecutor’s job to tell you whether you are receiving a “good” deal or whether it is in your best interest. It is the prosecutor’s job to obtain a conviction, either by a trial or through a plea bargain. A criminal defense attorney is looking out for one person and one person only — you.
Reasons Why You Want to Accept a Plea Bargain
There are several reasons why you may want to plead guilty to criminal charges. For example, if you know you are guilty, and the prosecutor has a strong case, you might receive a lighter sentence, or the charges may be reduced in a plea deal. Receiving a lighter sentence is a huge incentive for accepting a deal if the chances of a guilty verdict are high. Likewise, reduced charges could be much better in the long-term. For example, having a felony reduced to a misdemeanor can prevent many of the negative consequences of having a felony conviction on your criminal record. A felony conviction can result in losing your right to own a firearm or to vote.
Another important consideration is the cost of a trial. A plea bargain may cost much less in attorney fees and court costs, but this is only if you are relatively sure of a guilty verdict at trial. A deal also brings a quicker resolution to a criminal charge than waiting for the case to go to trial.
Reasons Why You Want to Say No to a Plea Bargain
One reason to turn down a plea bargain is that you are innocent. Innocent people can be arrested even though we do not want to believe the police get it wrong sometimes. If you are truly innocent, you do not want to plead guilty. You need to contact our office immediately. Before you plead guilty and accept a deal, you should understand why the prosecutor is offering you a deal. The prosecutor is not offering a deal because he or she feels sorry for you. Prosecutors want guilty verdicts, and they want to move cases. Therefore, prosecutors often offer deals in cases they believe they may lose at trial because they do not have a strong case. Therefore, accepting a deal may be in the best interest of the prosecutor instead of being in your best interest.
Even if you are guilty, there are reasons why you may not want to plead guilty. First, you give up your legal right to a trial. You have the right to present evidence to a jury of your peers or a judge to determine if you are guilty based on the evidence. You also lose your right to file an appeal if new evidence surfaces. In some cases, a plea bargain is just a bad deal. If you are not represented by an attorney, you may not realize you have been offered a deal that is not in your best interest. Consulting a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible can help you avoid accepting a deal that is not in your best interest.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help with a Plea Deal
Having the legal counsel of an experienced attorney can help ensure that any deal you accept is in your best interest. An attorney analyzes the case based on the strength and weakness of the evidence to advise you of whether a deal is in your best interest or not. Our criminal defense attorneys are skilled negotiators and experienced trial attorneys. Regardless of whether we are negotiating a plea deal or taking the case to trial, we aggressively fight to protect your legal rights and your best interest.
Contact a Michigan Criminal Defense Lawyer for Trusted Advice
The criminal defense attorneys of The Clark Law Office want to help you achieve the best resolution possible in your case. We believe it is in your best interest to explore all your options before deciding to accept or decline a plea bargain. To request your free legal consultation with a Lansing criminal defense attorney, contact our office by telephone at 517-347-6900. For your convenience, we have offices in Okemos and Lansing.