Seven (7) Reasons You May Want To Consider A Plea Deal
Sometimes there’s a good reason not to fight a charge. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let the prosecution walk all over you like a doormat. The best criminal defense attorney Tulsa has to offer can aggressively negotiate a plea deal if you think that’s what’s best for you.
What Is A Plea Deal?
A plea deal, also called a plea bargain, is an arrangement between the defendant and the prosecutor. It provides a compromise to the charges in exchange for the defendant pleading either guilty or no contest. Both the prosecution and the defendant have the right to have the case tried before a jury. However, very few cases go to trial. Plea deals are a popular legal solution for the court, the prosecutor, and the accused. The client, not the attorney, gets to decide whether to accept a plea offer from the prosecution.
As part of a plea deal, a defendant might also enter into what’s called a blind plea. Another potential option in some cases is what’s called an Alford plea. Blind pleas and Alford pleas are risky.
To learn more about the basics of plea deals, see my article, Understanding Plea Bargaining | What It’s All About.
7 Reasons You May Want To Agree To A Plea Deal
1. Getting Out of Jail: Sometimes friends or family will hire an attorney to represent someone who has been lingering in jail because of high bail. A plea agreement entailing probation would allow the defendant to get out of jail within hours of presenting the plea agreement before a judge.
2. Financial Savings: Depending on the charge and whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony, taking your case to trial can cost you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. And, the longer your case lasts and the more hearings you have, the more you accrue court costs. (Of course, you don’t have to pay court costs if your case is dismissed, or a judge or jury find you not guilty at trial).
3. Lesser Sentence: Each crime has a certain punishment. Some crimes have only a fine as punishment. Other crimes have a fine and/or confinement in jail or prison as punishment. Unless otherwise stated in the criminal statute, the most a person could spend in jail for a misdemeanor is one year.
Sometimes a person may not want to go to trial and risk getting convicted. An aggressive Tulsa criminal defense attorney may be able to negotiate a deal where a client will spend less time in jail or prison than the maximum sentence possible.
Here’s an example: The punishment for online solicitation of a minor between 12 and 15 years old is three to 20 years in prison. The client doesn’t want to go to trial, risk being found guilty, and getting sentenced to 20 years in prison. With the evidence heavily stacked against him, the client agrees to the prosecution’s offer of going to prison for three years.
4. Probation: Sometimes a Tulsa criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal where the client will spend no time in jail or prison. This applies to both misdemeanors and felonies.
Here’s an example: The punishment for domestic abuse – assault and battery is up to one year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $5,000. As part of a plea deal, the client is put on probation for two years, pays a fine of $1,000, pays court costs, completes anger management, and spends no time in jail.
5. Dismissal and Expungement of the Charge: With some negotiation, a prosecutor might agree to a deferred sentence if the defendant pleads guilty. With a deferred sentence, the defendant will be on probation for a certain period of time. Additionally, the defendant will have to obey certain conditions of probation. The great thing about a deferred sentence is that at the end of the probation, the case will be dismissed if the defendant has not violated any of the probation conditions. Because the case is dismissed, you will not have a conviction for that case. And, the case record will be expunged (sealed).
You can learn more about the difference between a deferred and suspended sentence in my article my article, Understanding Plea Bargaining | What It’s All About.
6. Less Social Stigma: Prosecutors might agree to reduce a charge that is socially offensive to one that has less of a stigma. Take, for example, sexual battery. Obviously, this has a huge social stigma and can have negative consequences other than confinement. An aggressive Tulsa criminal defense might be able to get the prosecutor to reduce the charge to assault and battery rather than sexual battery.
7. Reduced Charge and/or Sentence: Sometimes a Tulsa criminal defense attorney can negotiate a plea deal where the charge is reduced. For example, a charge of sexual battery (a felony) could be reduced to assault and battery (a misdemeanor). Obviously, a felony conviction has greater consequences than a misdemeanor.
THE CALE LAW OFFICE POLICY ON PLEA BARGAINS
It’s the policy of the Cale Law Office to obtain discovery from the DA’s office first before advising the client on whether or not to agree to the plea offer. In almost every case, attorney Stephen Cale files a Motion for Discovery. This forces the prosecution to turn over evidence it has in the case. This includes both unfavorable and favorable evidence regarding the defendant. Doing this helps the client make an informed decision concerning the plea offer.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime, call the Cale Law Office at 918-277-4800. Your initial consultation is free. The goal of the Cale Law Office is to provide you with the best possible result in your case. We understand that your life, liberty, reputation, and future are at stake.
Attorney Stephen Cale is a highly-rated and skilled criminal defense attorney. He dedicates his practice to criminal defense.