A criminal plea deal is a simple way to speed up a criminal case by striking a deal in the punishment for your case. Most criminal cases are resolved in plea deals. Without a criminal plea, the justice system would not be able to handle all the cases that happen over the course of each day.
Either the defense or the prosecution can begin the negotiations for a plea deal, but for it to be successful, both sides must agree to the terms of the plea deal.
What Are the Benefits of a Criminal Plea Deal?
If you have been offered a plea deal, you are likely considering if you should take the deal or accept outright punishment for your crime. When a defendant takes a plea deal, it is typically for one of the following reasons:
A change in charges and punishment: Some charges could be dropped or reduced, or there could be reduced or no jail time.
Less time to wait: Waiting for a trial can take years. A plea deal can speed up the process significantly.
Less cost: Your attorney fees will be much less by taking a plea deal, simply because it takes less time and less work.
No uncertainty: You have no idea how a trial will end. A plea deal leaves no unanswered questions.
What Are the Drawbacks of a Plea Deal?
The deal up for negotiation may seem like a good one initially, but it may not be exactly what you have in mind for your case. Sometimes, a defendant passes on a plea deal, typically because:
You are innocent: Most plea deals are presented in conjunction with your guilty plea. If you are accused of a crime you didn’t commit, taking a criminal plea means you admit to something you may not have done.
You still have a criminal record: Accepting a plea deal doesn’t erase your past. Your criminal record still stands, even if your punishment is reduced.
The Plea Deal Isn’t Just for You
If you choose to take a criminal plea deal, know that you aren’t the only one who is going to benefit from it. The prosecutors prefer plea deals as well for a variety of reasons.
Like you, there is no uncertainty about the outcome of the trial
It is much easier, faster, and costs much less than a trial
The court system does not have to conduct a trial
Do I Have Any Other Options Besides a Plea Deal?
A plea deal isn’t your only option if you have been arrested for a criminal act, are facing jail time and want to avoid trial. In many states, including North Carolina, Adult Diversion Programs are now in place. The purpose is to remove the lesser crimes from the justice system for those who have not been convicted of a felony offense.
This obviously would not be an alternative for a repeat offender but maybe a plea deal alternative in some criminal cases. The program’s goal is to help the criminal learn from their mistakes by way of community service, paying financially for the costs (court costs and fines) of their crime, and rehabilitation. In exchange for these duties, the crime would be dismissed.
Deciding What is Best for You
The bottom line is, you must do what is best for you. That’s why you should hire a criminal defense attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina who can give you a better understanding of the criminal justice system and how it applies to your case. When you agree to a plea deal, you are waiving your right to a trial; however, you and your lawyer do have some bargaining leverage, and ultimately, the choice is yours. If you don’t like the deal, you certainly do not have to accept it.
In more than 90% of criminal cases in the United States, criminal cases end by way of a plea deal. At one point, plea deals were frowned upon, but if it weren’t for plea deals, the criminal justice system would be inundated with backed up cases for decades. The option to accept a plea deal or not allows for cases to either end or to go to trial if the defendant so chooses.
Finding the Right Charlotte, North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer
It is extremely important that you find the right criminal defense lawyer to represent you. Your lawyer should have a good record of favorable plea bargains and have a great reputation going to trial. If a prosecutor knows a lawyer is not completely comfortable in the courtroom, they may not work to send a favorable plea deal, knowing the lawyer prefers to avoid trial.
A Charlotte criminal defense attorney at Remington & Dixon will go to trial confidently and fight aggressively for your rights, whether you decide to accept a plea deal or not.
Call a Charlotte criminal lawyer at Remington & Dixon for a free consultation. We’re on your side and will stand with you from the beginning of your case until it closes with the best possible scenario for you being the primary focus.
Brandon double-majored in Political Science and Criminal Justice at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He earned his Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law in Orlando, Florida. Throughout his career, Brandon has received numerous awards and recognition from his peers and agencies that rate attorneys. A few of these awards are from The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyer in 2014, The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40 in 2014, Nation’s Top One Percent: National Association of Distinguished Counsel in 2015, Super Lawyers: Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and North Carolina Business Magazine: Legal Elite in 2019, among others.