You’re in legal trouble, and you know it. Landing in jail on criminal charges was a shock to your system — and your future and your freedom are both on the line. The anxiety you’re feeling is enough, all on its own, to make you feel kind of grateful when the prosecutor offers you a deal.
Should you accept? Maybe. Maybe not. You certainly don’t want to make a decision in a rush without some experienced legal counsel along the way. Here’s why:
- A plea deal may not benefit you. Prosecutors overwhelmingly favor plea deals these days because it’s a “win-win” for them — and the courts. Plea deals aren’t always so great for defendants, however. It’s an open secret that many innocent defendants take a plea deal simply because they want out of jail or are afraid of what will happen if they lose their fight in court.
- A plea deal is the same as a conviction, legally. Once you accept a plea deal, you’re admitting to the crime — and that’s going to follow you around forever. How often do you think that a prospective landlord or employer is going to ask about the circumstances of your arrest and conviction before making negative judgments about you?
- You may not be getting the prosecutor’s best offer. Even if a plea deal is inevitably the best thing for your situation, you’re in no position to know just “how low” a prosecutor can — and will — go. It generally takes some experience with the law, the details of the evidence against you, knowledge of the court system and the particular prosecutor involved to know where there’s more room for negotiation.
If you’re facing some serious criminal charges, let an experienced advocate help assess any plea deal you’ve been offered — and your chances of success in court.