Plea deals are common in both police procedural shows and in real life. A plea deal is a deal that is delivered from the prosecution that the defendant can accept in lieu of going to court. It is assumed that, should the defendant go to court and be found guilty, the punishment for his or her actions would be far greater than what he or she would serve in the plea deal. This saves everyone a lot of time and money because going to court can be a lengthy, expensive process. If you are offered a plea deal, it might be tempting for you to take it right away just to get the entire process over with. However, here are some factors you should consider before taking a plea deal.
1. Have you talked to your attorney yet?
The first thing that you need to do is avoid accepting any sort of deal until you have seen your attorney and talked it over with him or her. The reason for this is that you are not going to be as familiar with the law as the prosecutor and might have a solid case on your hands that he or she is trying to talk you out of. A second reason is that having an attorney at all might cause the prosecutor to make your deal better simply because you have shown that you are willing to fight at least a little.
2. Have you negotiated?
Don't take a deal unless you've at least tried to negotiate it. The prosecutor is going to start by offering you the worst possible deal for you that he or she thinks is achievable. Your attorney or you need to counter with an offer that is much closer to what your best-case scenario is. You want to go back and forth a few times until you have something that is about equidistant from your worst-possible scenario and your best-possible scenario, or closer to your best-possible scenario.
3. Do you think that it's impossible for the prosecution to prove your guilt?
Finally, it might seem easier to take the plea deal, but if you are firm that you are innocent and both you and your attorney doubt that the prosecution will be able to prove your guilt, then you might want to consider letting the plea deal go.
For more information, talk to a lawyer at a law firm that specializes in criminal law, such as Kalasnik Law Office.