3 things to know about plea bargains
Criminal cases often end with a plea bargain. This avoids going to trial and allows you to negotiate the terms of your conviction. Plea bargains can be good deals, but sometimes, they may not be the best choice. The decision to make a deal or not is up to you. Remember, if you do not take the deal, you will go to trial in an Arizona court.
The American Bar Association explains that while your attorney may speak with the prosecutor about a plea bargain, the final decision is up to you. In addition, you do not have to take the deal as presented; you have the option of negotiation. You can take out elements and make requests for changes, if you want to.
The prosecutor’s discretion
Do keep in mind that the prosecutor does not have to offer a plea bargain. He or she may also take away the option at any time before you make an agreement. The prosecutor may also decide what he or she wants to offer. It could be a reduction of the charges or a recommendation for a specific sentence. You should also know that the deal is between you and the prosecutor. The judge can always make changes to the agreement and does not have to honor it. Although, most of the time, a judge will follow the prosecutor’s recommendation.
Sometimes, taking a plea bargain is not the right decision. You may have better options. For example, in some situations, the court may offer a diversion program. This allows you to complete specific requirements to have the charges against you dropped with no conviction.
In any situation, make sure that you carefully consider the plea bargain. Think about your case and the prosecutor’s case, and consider the sentence you could receive if you go trial. Make sure that you look at all your options before making the final decision.