You probably see it on televised crime shows all the time: A prosecutor offers a defendant the opportunity to receive a lighter sentence if they agree to plead guilty to reduced charges.
A plea bargain can be offered in many types of criminal cases, even a DUI. These deals sound pretty sweet to someone facing possible jail time, but you should make sure the bargain truly serves your best interests.
Possible advantages of a plea deal
The unpredictable nature of criminal courtroom proceedings means you never know how your trial will conclude until it’s over. Due to this, the most obvious benefit is the potential reduction of any penalties you might face.
A plea deal can also give you a degree of certainty about the outcome of your situation. For many defendants, accepting a bargain helps lower the stress and anxiety of facing criminal charges, as well.
Possible downsides of a plea deal
As you probably expect, there are certain disadvantages associated with plea bargains. Chiefly, you are giving up your constitutional right to defend yourself before a jury of your peers when you accept the deal. Further, agreeing to a bargain could feel like admitting guilt, something many defendants prefer to avoid.
The final potential drawback to consider is the chance that you could win your case if you see it through to trial. The hope of proving their innocence persuades many to turn down a proffered deal.
Only you can decide whether to accept or reject a plea bargain. But, you can improve your odds of making the best decision by learning more about criminal law in Texas and the possible defenses at your disposal.