If you find yourself in criminal court, you may not want to consider pursuing a plea deal with the prosecution. There are times, however, when plea deals can help you protect your future more effectively than a “not guilty” plea may.
So long as you have a Phoenix criminal defense attorney on hand, you can request that your attorney negotiate a plea deal on your behalf. You may even receive a plea deal offer from the prosecution if they want to resolve your trial more quickly.
What does the process of negotiating a plea deal look like, and what can you expect from the outcome? The criminal defense attorneys with Suzuki Law Offices can walk you through the basics of plea bargaining.
Understanding Plea Deals
Arizona’s Rules of Criminal Procedure specifically allow the prosecution and defense to meet and discuss a plea deal if said deal would help settle a criminal case. The process of negotiating a plea deal constitutes “plea bargaining.”
If you find yourself facing criminal accusations, you can give your opinion on plea bargaining, but it may be best to leave the actual bargaining to your attorney. You can count on a Phoenix criminal defense attorney to advocate for your right to a reduced sentence, even though you will still face a conviction.
Should You Pursue a Plea Deal?
Why bother with plea bargaining if you may still face a conviction? At the end of the day, going to trial over an alleged crime can prove expensive for all parties involved. What’s more, the process can take a considerable amount of time. Plea bargaining allows the defense and the prosecution to resolve their case without the cost or time commitment.
What’s more, plea deals ensure that parties accused of criminal misconduct benefit from a reduced sentence. While you have the option to plead “not guilty,” plea bargaining locks in your case’s result and eliminates the chance for you to face elevated consequences after a trial.
The Benefits of Pursuing a Plea Deal
There are specific benefits to the pursuit of a plea deal following criminal accusations. These include the following:
- Preventing undue time in trial
- Both sides save money on legal representation
- The accused faces a lighter sentence than they might otherwise
- The accused’s punishment becomes guaranteed, not left in the hands of a jury
Plea deals also allow the accused to maintain a sense of privacy. Because the defense can avoid going to trial, the general public may have fewer opportunities to look into the circumstances surrounding the defense’s alleged misconduct.
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Choosing a Type of Plea Deal
There are a few different types of plea deals that your Phoenix criminal defense attorney can arrange on your behalf. These include the following:
- Charge bargaining: the prosecution agrees to charge the defendant for a lesser charge than the court originally accused the defendant of
- Count bargaining: the prosecution agrees to reduce multiple charges brought against the defendant down to one
- Sentence bargaining: the prosecution agrees to argue for a reduced sentence for the defendant, even if the charges originally brought against the defendant remain the same
You can discuss which kind of plea deal might best suit you during a defense consultation with your criminal defense attorney.
The Prosecution May Reach Out to Your Attorney With a Deal
If your defense attorney receives an offer for a plea deal from the prosecution, you can expect that deal to reflect both the charges you’re facing and your existing criminal history, if applicable. You can then outline a wish list of reduced charges, dropped sentences, or an altered presentation of facts for your attorney to share with the prosecution.
Your defense attorney can then negotiate for your wish list with the prosecution. You can expect negotiations to continue until both parties come to a satisfactory conclusion. Should you approve of the deal, you can look over a written plea agreement and sign your agreement.
You may then enter a guilty plea. If you’ve already pleaded “not guilty,” your attorney can arrange a change-of-plea hearing on your behalf. Phoenix criminal judges will take steps to ensure that you are voluntarily changing your plea. Upon accepting your plea, the judge will then set a sentencing date, and you will face the consequences outlined in your plea deal.
Deciding Whether or Not to Pursue a Plea Deal
Plea deals do tend to have some downsides for the defendant, even though they can speed up the trial process. To start, you will have to plead guilty to the allegations brought against you if you want to see a plea deal through. This may mean that you find yourself facing a felony conviction, which, in turn, can impact your employability or personal life.
Agreeing to a plea deal also sees you waive your right to a trial. You will not have the opportunity to challenge any evidence the prosecution brings against you to prove that you engaged in criminal misconduct. Similarly, it’s particularly difficult to appeal a guilty plea if you enter into a plea deal.
Last but not least, you have to account for the unpredictable nature of judges. While most judges should reasonably consider your plea deal, some may reject them out of hand. If you find yourself contending with a judge who won’t consider your plea deal, you can discuss your response with a Phoenix, AZ, criminal defense lawyer.
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Our Attorneys Keep You Up-to-Date on Case Developments
Our attorneys will never begin negotiating a plea deal without consulting you. You can trust our attorneys to keep you up-to-date on your case’s progress and to inform you if the prosecution reaches out with a plea deal.
You can ask any array of questions you like about the nature of the offer before outlining your concession wish list. We will then update you as negotiations continue, discussing what aspects of your wish list need to go and which ones the prosecution might uphold.
Talk to Suzuki Law Offices About Criminal Defense Representation Today
Your Phoenix criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal on your behalf should the opportunity to do so arise. While doing so may see you accept criminal charges, plea deals can also protect you from more severe legal consequences.
You can discuss your interest in a plea deal with your criminal defense attorney ahead of time. If our team understands that you’re interested in a deal, we can better prepare for negotiations with the prosecution.
You can contact us today to learn more about the strategies we use to protect our criminal defense clients’ futures.