If you've been arrested for a criminal charge, there may come a time when you get offered an opportunity to plea to a lesser charge. This can happen with almost any charge, even the most serious charges like murder and rape. The justice system has good reasons to offer plea bargains to certain people, and you should carefully deliberate this decision with your attorney before you accept. Read on to learn more about some reasons plea bargains get offered and make an informed decision on this issue.
Jails are overcrowded: No matter where you live, it is likely that the local county or city jail is at maximum capacity. These jails are supposed to be temporary holding spaces until a case comes to trial, but often the trial process is backed up, leading to too many prisoners and not enough cells. Plea bargains allow the system to move straight to the sentencing phase and move the defendant along through the process faster, either to prison or released with punishments that do not include incarceration. This can include community service, classes, probation and more.
Courts are backed up: Those arrested and charged with crimes are supposed to have a right to a speedy trial, but often the term "speedy" is undefined. This can mean languishing in jail for months and months for those who cannot afford bail, or for those who've not been offered bail. Plea bargains can mean the defendant makes a quick appearance to plead guilty to the lesser charge, which frees the court calendar to move forward. By extension, plea bargains also save the court system money.
Protecting informants: A confidential informant (CI) plays an important role in cases like drug trafficking and other major crimes, and protecting their identities are of the utmost importance. When a relatively small-time player in the grand scheme of things gets arrested, a trial could put the CI on the stand and at risk. Plea bargains allow defendants with low-level charges in a bigger organization an opportunity to skip the trial and not interfere with a major investigation.
It looks like a win: State's attorneys' offices who want to look like they are tough on crime (and who doesn't) consider a plea bargain as a quick and easy "win" for them. You may be surprised at the competitiveness of these government agencies to prosecute as many defendants as possible, no matter what they did or how their punishment was meted out.
To learn more about entering a plea, speak with a criminal defense law office like Taylor Law Firm about the ramifications; only you can make this decision, so make it an informed one.Share