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What is Plea Bargaining and Is it a Good Option for Me?

Plea Bargains in California

If you have been charged with a crime in California, you may be presented with a plea bargain at some point during your case. A plea bargain may be the result of negotiations between two parties or might be due to weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Either way, a plea bargain should not be accepted unless it has been reviewed by an experienced attorney.

At Chastaine | Jones, we represent individuals who have been charged with criminal offenses throughout Gold River and Sacramento County. Our experienced legal team can help protect your rights and ensure you receive the most favorable disposition possible on your case. If you have been charged with a crime in California, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. 

What Is Plea Bargaining?

A plea bargain is an agreement between the accused individual and the prosecuting authority that is negotiated outside of court but usually has to be approved by the court. With a plea bargain, the accused individual will have to waive rights, so they should fully understand the plea bargaining process and how the pros and cons apply to them.

There are several different kinds of plea bargaining in California. A plea bargain may include a reduction of the charges to a lesser offense or agreeing to a reduced sentence. In some cases, where a person faces multiple charges, an attorney may be able to negotiate a dismissal of one or more counts. It is important to remember that without the help of an attorney, you may not be able to negotiate a plea deal.

Reasons to Consider a Plea Bargain

There are several reasons to consider a plea bargain. Foremost, accepting a plea bargain can help you avoid going to trial. Trials are expensive, with no guarantee of the outcome. 

Next, a plea bargain may help you get charges reduced or dismissed. If you do not accept the plea deal, you may face the maximum penalties allowed on the original charges. 

Finally, accepting a plea deal can help you protect your reputation in some cases. The negotiated deal may enable you to plead to an infraction or lesser misdemeanor that will not impact your career or your driving privileges.

Risks Involved in Plea Bargaining 

There are both risks and rewards for accepting a plea agreement. It is within your best interest to speak to a criminal defense attorney about your rights before accepting a plea bargain. Consulting with an attorney can help make sure that you are receiving the best possible outcome in your case.

Pros of accepting a plea agreement:

  • You will not have to go to trial.
  • It will save you time and money. 
  • You can avoid the negative publicity associated with a trial.
  • You might be able to avoid a harsher punishment.
  • Your case will resolve faster.

Cons of accepting a plea agreement:

  • You will not get your day in court.
  • You will have a criminal conviction on your record.
  • Depending on the plea, you could face additional penalties, such as the suspension of your driving privileges.
  • You will never know if a trial would have resulted in a “not guilty” verdict.
  • You may be ineligible for a plea bargain in the future if you are a repeat offender.

The decision to accept a plea bargain is one that only you can make. You should only accept a plea agreement once you fully understand all of your legal options. 

Contact Chastaine Jones for the Legal Defense You Need

A criminal defense attorney can help the accused individual determine if accepting a plea agreement is the right decision for them. There are potential advantages and disadvantages to a plea agreement, which a lawyer can explain to a defendant. 
If you have been arrested for a crime in Sacramento County, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation. Our lawyers will help you understand your rights and help determine whether you might be eligible for a negotiated plea agreement. Call now to get started.

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