After being charged with a felony, you will likely be given the opportunity to enter a guilty plea in exchange for a sentence that would be considerably lighter than being convicted in a trial. The process of exchanging a guilty plea for a quicker and more lenient sentence is known as plea bargaining and it is how most criminal cases are resolved.
But there are instances when accepting a plea may not be your best move. The following are some important questions that you should ask yourself before accepting a plea bargain offer:
How strong is the prosecution's evidence against me?
How serious is the crime that I am alleged to have committed?
How likely is it that I will be found guilty if the case goes to trial?
But these are not necessarily easy questions to answer. It can be very difficult to judge the strength of a prosecution's case. Also, if you choose to enter a plea, how will you know if you are receiving a fair deal?
If you are unsure whether you want to enter a plea bargain, it is typically a good idea to consult an experienced criminal law attorney. An attorney can help you in a number of ways.
First, the attorney can look at the strength of the prosecution's case and assess if going to trial is in your best interests. If it is, the attorney can map out a defense strategy.
However, if a plea bargain is likely going to yield the best outcome, the attorney can act as your negotiator to help you get the best terms possible.