A plea bargain is a deal a defendant can make to plead guilty for a known outcome. In some cases, prosecutors will offer the defendant a chance to avoid trial and a less aggressive penalty in exchange for pleading guilty to a lesser offense. Plea bargains may also allow the defendant to avoid jail time and access sentencing alternatives or probation time. A plea deal is not a dismissal of charges and will still result in a criminal record and consequences.
Taking a plea bargain may or may not be the best choice – it all depends on your case’s specifics. If the prosecution has solid evidence to support the charges they have against you and your chances of getting a favorable verdict by going to trial are slim, accepting a plea deal might reduce the risk of receiving a harsh sentence and allow you to downgrade your charges when possible.
However, if a Jersey City criminal defense attorney believes the accused individual is innocent and a plea bargain will only pressure him or her into accepting guilt for a crime he or she did not commit, going to trial might just be worth the risk. If there is a chance that the prosecution will not be able to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, taking the case to a jury would be the smartest move.
Judges are not required to accept a plea deal. If a plea deal is denied, the prosecution will usually go back to the drawing board and negotiate a more acceptable deal to present to the judge. It is also not unusual for a judge to encourage the prosecution and the defense to agree, as it saves the state a lot of time and trial-related expenses.
Drug crime cases such as drug possession and drug distribution may be able to resort to a plea deal. This is not always true for other crimes such as DUIs or crimes with mandatory minimum prison time – in which case, winning a trial is the only way to get a favorable outcome, as such cases are not eligible for a plea deal.
If you are unsure about whether you should accept a plea deal for your drug charges or not, you should contact a drug crime lawyer right away. Every client will receive a thorough analysis of their case, understand their charges and get advice on whether they are being offered a fair plea deal or if the prosecution may not have evidence strong enough to hold their case and be challenged in front of a jury. We understand it is a tough choice and that you may have many questions and concerns, so that is why we are here to help. Call us at 201-798-4024 to review your case and learn your options.