What Are Your Options When A Plea Deal Is Offered?

What Are Your Options When A Plea Deal Is Offered?

You’ve been charged with a crime and the prosecution offers you a plea deal. Do you take it? While that can sound tempting when you’re facing serious charges, there are certain risks to consider. Before deciding, weigh the pros and cons and make sure to consult with your Nashville criminal defense lawyer about all your options.

Accepting the Plea Deal

This is often the easiest choice, but not always the best one. Accepting a plea deal means you plead guilty to the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. The prosecution gets a quick win, and you get less jail time.

Going to trial can be a lengthy, stressful process. Accepting a plea deal allows you to avoid the uncertainty of trial and know exactly what punishment you’ll receive upfront. The prosecution uses less resources than on a trial, so they’re often willing to offer a more lenient sentence.

In a plea deal, the prosecution will usually offer to reduce the charges to a less serious offense or recommend a lighter sentence. The downside is that by accepting a plea deal, you waive your right to a trial and admit guilt to the charges.

Rejecting the Plea Deal

It’s your right to reject a plea deal and proceed to trial. But before making this important decision, consider your options carefully. Going to trial means facing the maximum possible sentence if found guilty versus the (typically) lighter sentence offered in the plea deal. However, you also have the chance to be found innocent at trial.

Rejecting a plea deal and going to trial allows you to maintain your innocence and avoid admitting guilt. If found not guilty, you will be acquitted of the charges altogether. You may feel that you have a strong case and good chance of an acquittal or less severe conviction.

If found guilty at trial, you face the maximum punishment allowed under the law for your charges. The judge and jury will not be bound by any sentencing agreements offered in a plea deal. Harsher punishment, longer incarceration, and higher fines are possible. The stress and expense of a trial may also take a heavy toll.

find out of you should accept a deal offered by the prosecution

Negotiating the Terms and Conditions of the Plea Deal

When a plea deal is offered, you have a few options to consider. Do you accept the terms as offered, try to negotiate better conditions, or reject the deal altogether? This is not an easy decision, but discussing your options with your criminal defense lawyer can help determine the best path forward.

If you’re open to a plea deal but feel the current offer is too harsh, ask your lawyer to negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. They may be willing to reduce the charges to a lesser offense or decrease the recommended sentence in exchange for your guilty plea.

Be prepared to provide information about your lack of criminal history or personal circumstances that warrant leniency. Any concessions you can gain will help reduce the long-term impact.

Withdraw the Plea Deal

Withdrawing a plea deal means you are taking back your guilty plea and will proceed to trial. This is not an easy decision, but there are a few reasons why you may want to withdraw a plea — perhaps new witnesses have come forward or new evidence has surfaced that proves your innocence.

With this new information, you may have a stronger case to bring in front of a jury. However, the prosecution will likely argue that you already admitted your guilt, so you’ll need extremely compelling evidence. When under stress, it can be easy to feel pressured into accepting a deal you don’t fully understand.

If you later realize the implications of the deal, such as a harsher punishment than you expected or restrictions you can’t live with, you may want the chance to defend yourself in court. Some judges will allow a plea to be withdrawn if you can prove you did not fully comprehend the terms.

Reach Out to a Nashville Criminal Defense Attorney for Guidance

The prosecution will often make an initial plea offer that benefits them, not necessarily you. They want to resolve the case quickly and avoid a trial. Don’t feel obligated to take the first deal on the table. You have the right to discuss the offer with your Nashville criminal defense attorney and determine if it’s in your best interests or if you’d be better off negotiating further or going to trial.

Call Byron Pugh today at 615-255-9595 for compassionate yet aggressive criminal defense representation. Byron will stand by your side, review any plea offers, and fight for the best possible outcome in your case.