Plea bargains are a common occurrence in the United States criminal defense system. Several convictions may come out of negotiating a plea agreement with the defendant. There are several pros and cons of accepting a plea agreement. You should consider all facts and options when negotiating a plea agreement.
A plea bargain gives you the opportunity to receive a lighter sentence, as compared to a harsher sentence if the case goes to trial. The agreement also gives you the chance to negotiate what charges you want listed on your criminal record. Going to trial takes away your right to negotiate with the prosecution, and they will always try to get you the harshest sentence possible. Criminal trials can be prolonged because of the severity of punishment involved. This means an accumulation of attorney fees, especially if you hire a private attorney to defend you.
However, the plea bargain also has its fair share of problems. Critics of the plea bargain claim that it takes away the defendant's fundamental right to a fair trial. In some cases, the possibility of a harsh sentence is too much for the defendant, and they accept a plea agreement even if they are not guilty. If they cannot afford to hire an experienced attorney, they opt to take the lighter sentence because you never know what is going to happen if the case goes to trial. Accepting the plea agreement may be the safer option for the defendant.
If you have been charged with a crime and the prosecution offers you a plea agreement, it is advisable to hire an experienced defense attorney. Regardless of fees, their representation could result in better negotiations, and you might just get a better deal.