Skilled Criminal Defense
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Is a plea deal actually a good deal?

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you’ve been charged with a crime, there’s a fairly good chance you’ll eventually be offered some kind of plea bargain. 

In fact, the American Bar Association Plea Bargain Task Force has said that “trials have become rare legal artifacts in most U.S. jurisdictions, and even nonexistent in others.” This is because plea bargains offer a pragmatic approach to numerous problems with the legal system, not the least of which is the fact that a trial can cost both sides a tremendous amount of time and financial resources. They also eliminate a lot of uncertainties.

However, plea bargains aren’t always a good deal for a defendant. 

Why are plea deals problematic?

Sometimes, it simply isn’t wise to take what may seem like the “easy way” out of a troubling situation, and a plea bargain comes with some serious negative consequences. For example:

  • Admissions of guilt: Most plea bargains require an admission of guilt, and that (and the punishment that follows) can be difficult to accept when you’re factually innocent.
  • Loss of rights: When you agree to a plea deal, you give up certain rights, including the right to pursue most appeals. If you come to regret your decision, you have very few options. Depending on the situation, your conviction may also affect things like your right to vote and bear arms, which can also be a heavy burden.
  • A criminal record: Having a conviction on your criminal record could haunt you for the rest of your life. That could affect everything from your ability to get a college education to your career opportunities. It can also affect how other people perceive you and damage your personal relationships.

If you’re offered a plea deal of any kind, it’s very important to take your time and consider your legal options. You don’t want to jump on an offer only to realize later that you’ve made a mistake.