A plea agreement is a contract that has been negotiated between the lawyer for a person charged with a crime and the prosecutor. This agreement spells out a sentence that has been accepted by both parties involved.
Then, this agreed upon sentence is recommended to the court. It is up to the court whether or not it is accepted or denied.
If the court accepts the terms that have been agreed to, there is no need for the case to go to trial. If the court fails to accept these conditions, then the defendant can withdraw the plea and choose to enter a plea to the court or to take the case to trial.
What Are the Advantages of a Plea Agreement?
There are some advantages offered by plea agreements for a defendant. In most cases, the sentence that is agreed on in the plea is not as severe as the maximum allowable punishment according to the law. If this were not the case, there wouldn’t be a reason to enter a plea agreement at all.
An example of how the plea agreement would work is this. A client was charged with aggravated sexual assault, which had a maximum allowable sentence of 30 years in prison. Additionally, the individual would have to register as a sexual predator for the remainder of his life.
With the help of his attorney, research, and a thorough investigation that involved speaking with witnesses, talking to friends of the victim and going to the crime scene, the true facts of the case were uncovered. The facts didn’t support the charges that were brought against the man.
Thanks to this evidence, the attorney for the defendant was able to persuade the prosecution that the case was likely not going to be successful if it went to trial and the prosecutor agreed to reduce the charges substantially. As a result, a plea agreement was created that reduced the charges to a non-sexually related offense. In the plea, it was also agreed to withhold adjudication, and no sex offender registration status with a short-term probation.
The Reasons to Accept a Plea Agreement
The fact is, in any criminal charge – even those in situations where it may seem like the defendant will definitely not be found guilty – there is still the possibility of being convicted if the case were to go before a jury. As a result, when the charges are reduced and the terms of the plea agreement are reasonable, this is typically the best course of action.
Additionally, plea agreements are not offered in all cases and not all plea agreements should be accepted. It is best for a defendant to work with their criminal defense attorney to determine if the agreement is something they should take.
If you have questions about your own case or criminal charges, you can contact the criminal law attorneys at the Law Office of Jeffrey Thompson by calling (321) 253-3771 for more information. Being informed is the best way to make the right decision for your case.