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What Is a Plea Bargain? Should I Accept This?

A plea bargain is a deal that the prosecution offers the defendant in some cases. Basically, the prosecution might offer a plea bargain as an incentive to get a guilty plea or to end the case more quickly. One example of a plea bargain is a defendant agreeing to plead guilty in order to receive reduced penalties.

Your Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer might advise you to turn down a plea agreement. Why? One major reason would be because they believe your case is strong enough to stand up in court. If your attorney is confident enough in your defense, then they will encourage you to plead “not guilty” which will propel your case to trial.

During trial, your attorney will combat the attacks of the prosecution and present reasonable doubt that you committed to offense before the judge or judge and jury. If your attorney believes strongly that you will be acquitted, they may advise you against a plea agreement, in which you would have to plead guilty.

Statistically, an overwhelming majority (some statistics indicate as many as 90 percent) of criminal cases are settled by way of a plea bargain and do not go to trial. Plea bargains must follow federal sentencing guidelines as well as the rules of criminal procedure. Prosecuting attorneys do not get to offer any plea agreement they want.

Plea bargains are particularly common in the crowded California court system. So popular, in fact, that there is now an official court document that can be filled out in lieu of a plea agreement made at a hearing. It may or may not be wise to accept a plea bargain. This will depend on the unique factors of your case. Before doing so, you should contact your lawyer.