When you’ve been arrested or charged with a crime, you’ll likely spend a significant amount of time in the courtroom before your trial begins. During this time, it’s likely that you will receive a plea deal from the prosecution. Though it may seem tempting, you must consider the implications carefully before accepting. You’ll also want to ensure you speak with Houston criminal defense attorneys before accepting a plea bargain. Keep reading to learn more about this process and why it’s imperative to consult with a lawyer first.
What Is a Plea Bargain?
When you are facing criminal charges, the prosecution will often offer what’s known as a plea bargain. This allows you to receive benefits for pleading guilty to the charges. Generally, these benefits include reduced changes or a more lenient sentence. For example, someone accused of drug trafficking may accept a plea deal for a reduced possession charge, which is a lesser charge. Similarly, someone may plead guilty because the prosecution promises to ask the judge for a rehabilitation sentence as opposed to imprisonment.
A plea bargain can be accepted at any point during a criminal trial, from arraignment to right before a verdict is delivered. Similarly, a defendant doesn’t need to wait until the prosecution offers a deal – a criminal defendant can request a bargain. However, the prosecutor does not have to oblige.
It’s also important to note that it is ultimately up to the judge to accept or decline an offer.
Why Must I Speak With an Attorney Before Accepting?
When facing criminal charges and the prosecution has overwhelming evidence against you, a plea deal seems like a great way to lessen the charges against you. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the law, this may not be the best idea.
For example, the prosecution may offer you what seems like a great deal in exchange for a guilty plea. However, an attorney may be able to advise otherwise, as you may have a better chance of beating the charges during a trial.
If it is in your best interest to accept a deal, an experienced attorney will be able to negotiate the deal with the prosecution to help you receive the best possible outcome. Generally, if there is an overwhelming amount of evidence against you, you are looking to receive a lighter sentence, or the deal focuses on rehabilitation as opposed to imprisonment, you should consult with your attorney to determine if this is the best option for your circumstances.
At the Gonzalez Law Group, we are dedicated to your best interest. When you’re facing criminal charges, ensuring you contact our legal team is essential to getting the guidance you need for this complex situation. Reach out today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.