The pros and cons of a plea bargain

by | May 3, 2013 | Law

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Often, a plea bargain can eliminate the need for time consuming and expensive trials. But a plea bargain requires that the defendant in a criminal proceeding plead guilty to a charge. The entire plea bargaining procedure is constantly under scrutiny by many action groups who ask if justice is being served by allowing a person guilty of a crime to plead guilty to a minor crime with correspondingly lesser penalty than the one that would have been meted out had the trial been held. This is an argument that will go on forever, but it is a valid tactic used by a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Barbara.

When a person has been arrested and accused of a crime, before the case goes before a judge and jury there is a very good chance that the criminal defense lawyer Santa Barbara will have entered into negotiations with the prosecuting attorney in an attempt to hammer out a deal. A plea bargain demands that the accused pleads guilty to a lesser offense than the one he or she has been arrested and charged with. When a plea bargain has been struck, there is no need for a court trial as the defendant has either pled guilty or no contest to the agreed upon crime.

When the accused is guilty of the charges originally brought and guilt can be supported with strong evidence, the accused is often eager to admit to a lesser charge. However, if the person who was charged is truly innocent, pleading guilty to any crime is a travesty. If an innocent person admits to any crime at all, the consequences are grave; this innocent individual is well advised to plead innocent and demand a trial by jury. A criminal defense lawyer in Santa Barbara and the prosecutor may wish to avoid this but it is the defendants right to demand trial and judgment by his peers. Even if the plea bargain struck carries no jail time, the innocent person who pled guilty to any criminal act will carry a criminal record and most likely face probation and perhaps even a hefty fine.

Prosecuting attorneys usually have huge caseloads and there is always a shortage of time for going to trial on every case. From the prosecutor’s point of view, a plea bargain delivers a conviction and in many cases, and that is usually the extent of their concern. Rarely though, would either a criminal defense lawyer in Santa Barbara or the opposing prosecutor negotiate when the crime is severely grave.

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