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Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense whereby the defense agrees to plead guilty to some variation of the charges against them in exchange for a lighter sentence and other concessions from the prosecution. A plea bargain is intended to allow the defendant and expedited trial process while reducing the number of cases that judges must handle.

Why a Plea Bargain Benefits the Defendant

Plea bargains are controversial since some argue that criminal defendants are not fully held accountable for their crimes. Others feel that criminal rights are infringed upon when the accused waives their Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights in exchange for reduced penalties.

Knowing that their Constitutional rights may be impaired, why should the accused accept a plea bargain? Some reasons include:

  • Reduced expenses on attorney's fees and court costs
  • Minimizing penalties an individual could face
  • Avoiding the publicity that a trial brings
  • Reducing the time that is spent trying the crime
  • Protecting one's criminal record from the original charges

The only way that someone is able to accept a plea bargain is if they do so voluntarily and have full knowledge of the consequences that may arise from a guilty plea.

A plea bargain does not provide nearly the same benefits to the prosecution that it does the criminally accused. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to negotiate a favorable plea bargain for the accused and work with the prosecution to move through the criminal system quickly and efficiently.

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