Plea deals are a major component of the criminal justice system. These agreements benefit the defendants, the prosecution and the court. Somewhere around 90% of cases are resolved in this manner, but defendants who are considering it should understand some important points about what these deals mean for them.
One of the top reasons why defendants choose to take part in the deals is because they want to have an idea of what sentence they are going to face. One of the components that they can try to work out a deal on is the sentence, so the defendant might be able to avoid having to face a sentence at the top end of the spectrum; however, you must be careful because the sentence that’s agreed on is a suggestion. The court can decide to bypass it in favor of something different.
It is also possible that the defense could negotiate lesser charges, which could be beneficial in cases that involve three strikes laws and subsequent conviction penalties. Sometimes, this can also impact the classification of the crime so that the collateral consequences aren’t as severe.
The court and prosecution also benefit from plea deals because they can focus on other cases. Plea deals also free up space on the court docket, which improves the speed at which defendants will have their cases resolved.
Many prosecutors will only work on plea deals with the defense attorney, so defendants who represent themselves won’t be able to have a deal. A final point to remember if you are interested in this option to address your criminal charge is that you aren’t eligible to appeal the sentence if you enter into a plea deal. You should consider all these points before you agree to a deal.