What Happens When you Take a Plea Deal?

Plea bargains commonly settle criminal cases. Submitting to a plea bargain, or deal, can be appealing to client and attorney alike because it is an opportunity to negotiate a lesser sentence and to avoid a long-winded trial.


Define Plea Bargain

A plea bargain/deal is the agreement on a settlement between both the defense and prosecution. It is an attractive option because it forgoes the long and costly court process. Although it depends on the circumstances of the case, often the defense can negotiate a lesser sentence for their client. The judge still has to agree to the terms of the plea deal and approve it regardless of the enthusiasm between the defense and prosecution.


How it Works

A plea deal typically requires the defendant to plead guilty to at least one of the charges in their case. Going to court, especially in a criminal case, can be incredibly risky. A plea deal offers the defendant an understanding of what the future will bring.

Charge bargaining is the most common plea deal option; this is when the defendants charges are negotiated to a lesser charge agreed upon by the defense and prosecution. If the judge agrees to the deal, the defendant’s other charges will be dropped.


Alternative Court Diversion programs

If you have committed a lesser crime, you may have an alternative way to avoid serious charges. Diversion programs are often available for minor offenses including:

  • Drug Possession
  • Petty Theft
  • Traffic Offenses
  • DUI
  • Non-violent crimes

One may take a DUI driving course, perhaps attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, or go to counselling instead of being charged and sentenced for a crime. Probation is also a common alternative program to a jail sentence. You must not have any prior offenses in order to qualify for this alternative.


Legal Assistance

Regardless of the offense, you should take advantage of legal assistance. If you have the chance for a plea deal, you will need an experienced lawyer, like a criminal defense attorney Fairfax VA residents turn to, to help negotiate the best possible deal. Criminal charges are serious, and you will not be able to defend yourself, let alone reduce your charges. Having an attorney by your side can help you gain the best outcome for your case possible and may help you avoid jail time. Call today for a free consultation about your particular case. You will be better off if you get help.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Virginia Crime & Traffic Law Firm for their insight into plea deals and criminal defense practice.

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