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Should you take a plea deal?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2022 | Theft & Property Crimes

The criminal courts have been overburdened for years. That is one reason that plea bargaining has reached epidemic proportions.

When someone turns up at court and says, “I’m guilty,” it allows judges to cut through their workload far quicker than if they had to hold a trial for every case in the queue. But plea deals may not be a good idea for every defendant.

Prosecutors benefit greatly from plea deals

Prosecutors set the terms of a plea deal, offering the defendant a stark choice: Take this offer, or risk far worse consequences if you hold out for a trial and lose. Most people are not prepared to play roulette with their future, so they take the plea. The prosecutor gets their conviction, chalks up a win, and moves on to the next case.

Plea deals are not so favorable for the defendant

There is massive pressure on defendants to forego their right to a trial and accept a plea deal. Yet, a recent study found that 97% of federal felony convictions and 94% of state felony convictions are achieved by plea deals. 

Imagine what would happen if more people demanded a trial. Many more innocent people might not have the burden of a criminal record hanging around their necks for life.

Prosecutors play on your vulnerability as a defendant

You are probably terrified and have little to no understanding of the probability that a judge convicts you nor what sentences they might issue. The prosecution knows this and will use it to try and convince you to take their deal.

Getting legal help to put things into perspective will be crucial. Only then can you make an informed choice about whether to accept a plea deal or push for a trial.