What you need to know about plea deals

On Behalf of | Apr 24, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Most criminal cases in the country are resolved through plea deals. Here is how this works. You agree to plead guilty or no contest to the charges against you in exchange for a lesser sentence or some other concessions by the prosecution. 

The whole point of a plea deal is to avoid a trial which can be uncertain and time-consuming. However, it is important to understand what happens after you accept a plea deal. It can help you make an informed decision when offered a plea bargain.

You must give up some rights

Taking a plea deal means waiving some crucial rights available to you as a criminal defendant. The first is the presumption of innocence. You give up your right to a fair trial or to question the prosecution’s witnesses once you accept a plea deal. You also waive your right against self-incrimination since a plea deal involves admitting to committing a criminal offense.

Can you change your mind?

Taking a plea deal is not something you can just walk out of.  Whether or not you can withdraw a guilty plea depends on the individual circumstances of your situation and the reason for withdrawal. In some cases, you cannot take back a plea deal once you agree to it.

Can you appeal the sentence?

Again, this depends. In most instances, you give up your right to appeal the sentence handed down after pleading guilty. However, you may appeal on other grounds, like judicial errors made by the judge while delivering the ruling.

It’s best to seek qualified guidance to help assess your situation before agreeing to a bargain with the prosecution. Remember, you do not have to accept a plea deal. You may negotiate more favorable terms or explore other options like going to trial.

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