Plea Bargaining in California Criminal Cases
What is a plea agreement?
A plea bargain, or plea agreement, is an offer between a defense attorney
and a prosecutor regarding the formal charges levied against a defendant.
This offer typically seeks reduced charges (thereby leading to decreased
penalties) rather than the full punishment that is available to, and can
be served by the court. While a plea bargain can be very beneficial to
a person charged with a crime, it also is in no way a guarantee. It is
a negotiation between both sides in a court case, and a prosecutor has
the full right to withdraw the offer at any time.
Plea bargains are governed not by criminal law, but by contract law. A
plea bargain is secured upon the signing of a contract, and as such, can
be withdrawn at any point before performance takes place. Performance
is considered complete when the court accepts the offer, rather than the
defense or prosecution accepting the offer. At Martinian & Associates,
we have tried a large number of criminal cases, including those involving
plea bargains. We are experienced in working towards a solution that is
intended to serve the best interests of our clients, and we can do the
same for you in your criminal case.
Making a Plea Agreement
In criminal cases, it is sometimes possible to reach a formal agreement
between the prosecutor and defendant of a case, effectively allowing the
defendant to plead guilty to the specific charges made against him / her
in return for some sort of concession from the prosecutor on the case.
Very often, you and your defense attorney will be able to work out an
agreement with the prosecutor on your case, thereby providing you the
opportunity to plead guilty (usually to a lesser charge) under the condition
that a more lenient sentence be provided to you.
For both parties involved, enacting a plea bargain can be extremely beneficial.
Of significant importance to the defendant, defense attorney and prosecuting
attorney is the fact that carrying out a plea bargain agreement will substantially
expedite what is typically quite a lengthy process. This is primarily
because a criminal trial can be avoided altogether when such an agreement
is enforced. It is not uncommon for defendants charged of a felony offense
to agree to a plea bargain in which they would instead plead guilty to
a lesser charge and subsequently be convicted of a misdemeanor offense
and suffer the consequences that go along with it.
Determining whether or not it is the right decision to follow through with
the offer to make a plea bargain can be a difficult dilemma, to say the
least. There are many factors that need to be considered and weighed before
ultimately making a decision on your behalf, and these circumstances should
be reviewed under the guidance of a legal professional who can help you
make the best determination for your case. Therefore, we encourage you
to call an attorney from Martinian & Associates today. In doing so,
you will be providing yourself with the best chances of obtaining the
least inhibiting results to your criminal case.