What are the pros and cons of a plea bargain?

What are the pros and cons of a plea bargain?

| Jan 21, 2021 | Criminal Appeals |

Plea bargains have supporters and detractors. Supporters claim it allows for the reservation of money and resources. Detractors say that it is unfair either to the prosecution or the defendant.

In either case, plea bargains have both cons and pros. You must carefully examine each side before deciding if they will benefit your case.

What is a plea bargain?

Cornell Law School delves into plea bargains and their place in law. Plea bargains exist as a way for defendants and prosecutors to come to a more even playing ground. First, it benefits all parties. A plea bargain allows the prosecution to skip having a trial. This means the court saves time, resources and money, too.

As for the defendant, they often get a reduced sentence. For example, the defendant can plead guilty to a lesser crime than they initially faced charges for. Prosecutors might reduce the number of charges faced or the severity of the charge. In some cases, they will even fight on the defendant’s behalf to gain the lightest sentence.

How plea bargains help and hinder

As a pro, plea bargaining allows you to avoid the worst outcome. You can work with law enforcement to provide details or admission of guilt. In exchange, you will face less time in jail, or even no time at all depending on the deal.

On the downside, this conviction will stay on your criminal record. On top of that, it can feel like a lose-lose situation when you are innocent. After all, you are still getting a reduced sentence for a crime you did not commit.

You may want to speak with an attorney if you find yourself offered a plea bargain. They can help you decide if this option will hinder or help you.