Getting arrested for a crime is one of the most stressful things that can happen to someone, and the possibility of going to prison is terrifying for most people. That’s why, when many people are offered a relatively lenient plea deal, especially one that promises to keep them out of prison, they’re eager to jump on it. However, there are several reasons why you should stop to consider your options before you plead to the charges against you.
A plea deal, also known as a plea bargain, is an agreement between a criminal prosecutor and a defendant where the defendant agrees to confess to criminal charges in exchange for a more lenient punishment than they might have received if they went to trial. Prosecutors love plea deals because it saves them the time, energy and resources needed to prove a crime at trial. Defense attorneys, on the other hand, tend to have a more lukewarm opinion on plea deals, in part because prosecutors love to pressure defendants into pleading out.
The primary advantage to a plea deal is that you can resolve your criminal charges relatively quickly, and that you can typically get a much more lenient sentence than you would if you went all the way to trial and were convicted. On the other hand, to get that plea deal, you need to give up your ability to defend yourself at trial, and a criminal charge you plead to is still counted against you as though you were convicted at trial. This means you could suffer a number of additional repercussions beyond a fine or incarceration, particularly if you plead to a felony. You should always consult with an attorney before taking a plea deal.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a criminal offense, you will need legal counsel to help you preserve your rights and work to get the best possible outcome for your matter. A New York criminal defense lawyer, who is experienced in handling criminal cases of all sorts, can advise you of your legal rights and will fight for your best interests in court. If you or your loved one has been arrested, contact the Suffolk County criminal defense attorneys at McGuire, Peláez and Bennett at (631) 348-1702.