When the police arrest someone in a TV series, it usually ends up in court. Yet, most real-life cases do not go to trial. They are settled by plea deals.
Prosecutors use plea deals to get their job done quicker. Instead of having to prove you committed a crime, they paint a picture of what could happen if you went to court and lost. Then they offer you a less harsh alternative on the condition that you plead guilty. They leave you with a difficult choice.
Consider all the consequences of a plea bargain
Accepting a plea deal means you admit guilt and get a criminal record. That can have a detrimental effect on your future. Employers can pass you over for job opportunities because of it, and depending on the conviction, some jobs and voluntary positions would not even accept your application. Housing providers can also reject you because of your record.
If you do not hold U.S. citizenship, a criminal conviction could have even more serious effects — it could harm your chances of staying in the country. While some serious crimes can lead to outright deportation or rejection of applications to stay, most do not. Yet, that does not mean they are without consequence. The immigration authorities will look at your overall record and history. If they see convictions for several minor offenses, they may use it to portray you as a serial offender who should not be allowed in the country.
If facing criminal charges, you need to understand all the options available and the short and long-term effects of any decision you make. You have more options than the prosecutors will admit.