Approximately 90% of criminal cases are handled through plea bargains. While they are a good idea in many cases, there are some that shouldn’t be resolved in this manner. It is important that anyone who is facing criminal charges understands some of specific points about plea deals.
One of the most important things to remember is that most prosecutors will only work with a defense attorney on the terms of a plea deal. You can’t just walk into the prosecutor’s office and demand a deal.
Another point to know is that if you enter into a plea deal, you can’t appeal the conviction or sentence. You waive the right to appeal as part of the standard agreement.
When you’re working on the terms of the plea deal, there are two primary factors that are negotiated. One of these is the charge to which you will plead guilty. The other is that sentence recommendation from the prosecutor. There is a chance that the deal can result in a lesser charge for you to plead guilty to. While this might not seem like a huge deal, it can have a big impact on your future since lesser charges might not come with all the collateral consequences of more serious charges.
The sentencing recommendation that’s included in the plea deal is presented to the court. The judge will need to approve it, but they can decide to change the terms some, so be prepared for this. Oftentimes, you can work out a sentence below the maximum; however, it must meet or exceed any mandatory minimum sentences required for your charge.
It is imperative that you remember a plea deal is only one option that you have for your defense strategy. Other possibilities might also work for your case, so be sure to carefully review them before deciding how to proceed.