An opportunity to minimize the consequences can be hard to resist when you are in legal trouble. Those facing serious felony charges can be especially tempted by the offer of a plea bargain.
Plea bargains have helped many criminal defendants avoid the harshest penalties associated with a conviction. However, it is beneficial to consider a plea bargain offer carefully before you accept. A look at their potential pros and cons can give you some insight.
What are the main advantages?
As you can probably imagine, avoiding an extremely harsh sentence is the primary reason defendants accept a plea deal. For example, they are more likely to agree to a deal if it reduces their time behind bars.
Additional benefits include the following:
- Security about what to expect as you move forward
- Faster resolution than a trial offers
- Possibility of having charges dropped or reduced
- Eliminate the stress and anxiety of a trial
These are all valuable advantages when facing substantial prison time, but remember to consider the possible drawbacks of a plea bargain.
What are the disadvantages?
Defendants who accept a plea agreement must usually plead guilty to one or more charges. In other words, you must admit guilt and surrender your right to defend yourself against the charges. A plea deal may also jeopardize or limit your right to appeal the conviction.
How can you know if you should take a deal?
Knowledge is a good companion when you must make wise choices that improve your circumstances. You should know and understand:
- Your charges under Texas criminal law
- The penalties you might face if convicted
- Your defense options if you decline the deal
This knowledge can inform your decision-making if a prosecutor offers a plea bargain. An experienced representative can also help you make wise choices through every stage of your trip through the Texas criminal justice system.