The penalties that can be imposed upon criminal conviction can be life altering, and not in a good way. But in order to obtain those convictions, prosecutors have to put in a lot of time and effort to build their case. After all, the burden of proof is on them. In order to save time and still reach the outcome they want, though, they often offer defendants plea deals that have penalties that are lesser than what could potentially be obtained upon conviction at trial. The plea deal might even include lesser charges. That might sound enticing to you, but before you take a plea deal you need to carefully analyze it to make sure it’s in your best interests.
Analyzing whether a plea deal is right for you
You need to take a lot of things into consideration before you determine whether you should take a plea deal. Here are just a few of them:
- Your ability to suppress evidence: in many cases, the prosecution’s case rests heavily on physical evidence. If that evidence was obtained illegally, such as through an illegal traffic stop or an otherwise illegal search, then you might be able to prevent that evidence from being used against you. This can significantly increase your chances of acquittal. The same can be said for chain of custody errors and precluding witness testimony when that witness fails to show up for scheduled depositions.
- The difference in penalties: Some plea deals don’t really provide much, meaning there’s very little risk of going to trial. But some plea deals can offer a significant reduction in penalties. If that’s the situation in your case, then you might want to consider the offer more carefully in light of the evidence at hand.
- Your aversion to risk: Ultimately, your decision may come down to this factor. Judges and juries can be unpredictable, by you can look at cases that had similar facts to see how they turned out if you want to gauge your chances of succeeding at trial.
Know how to face off against prosecutors
Whether you want to negotiate a plea deal or take your case to trial, you need to know how to deal with prosecutors. With a competent and experienced criminal defense attorney on your side, you can gain a realistic sense of where your case stands and acquire the aggressive legal arguments that you need to advance your position. So, if you think that you could benefit from the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, then do your homework and reach out to those that you think are a good fit for you and your case.