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Plea Bargain Questions

A plea bargain is an agreement made between a defendant and a prosecutor during a criminal case. The defendant agrees to plead guilty to a charge less severe than the original charge. Usually, the defendant will plead guilty to one charge in order to have other charges dismissed or plead guilty to an original charge in exchange for a less serious sentence. By agreeing to a plea bargain, both parties can avoid a lengthy trial which will save both side's time and money. Below are a few questions regarding plea bargains that have been answered by Experts.

I took a plea bargain on a criminal traffic charge but was never read my waiver of giving up my rights. What can I do?

The first step would be to file a motion to vacate plea with the court. This can be done if you were not read your rights or understood what you were giving up when you took the plea. When you file this motion, you will be expected to tell the court what relief you will be expecting. You can go to trial and use the defense that you had no awareness of the outcome by taking the plea. However, if you don't want to go to court and don't have a solid defense, this will not result in a dismissal of your case.

Why would a prosecutor not offer a plea bargain and opt for an open plea?

Generally, when a prosecutor doesn't offer a plea bargain, it usually means that the prosecutor is confident that they will win their case. When a prosecutor offers an open plea, it is the same as if you were to go to court and lose the case. If there is even a slim chance that the defendant could win, they have little reason to accept the open plea; however, if there isn't a chance, it is possible that the prosecutor will ask for a harsher sentence. In other words, if the prosecutor wants an open plea, they are expecting to win the case against you.

MY son had a plea bargain on Felony DWI which was denied by a County and was ordered to appear for sentencing. After the plea bargain was denied my son wanted to withdraw the plea but the judge was not in court due to illness. His court appointed attorney took my son to another courtroom where he was sentenced to 8 years. My son had ineffective counsel, is there anything that can be done?

At this point, you should find another attorney to review your son's case. It is very possible that your son has grounds for an appeal to have the plea vacated. Your son's attorney wasn't allowing effective legal assistance. Your son also had the right to withdraw his plea once the judge refused the plea bargain. You should know that there was no guarantee that your son's sentencing would have been less if he had went ahead with the original court sentencing. The best option at this point would be to find another attorney to review your son's case to determine how strong the prosecution's case is. After this, the attorney can file a motion for post conviction relief which will get the plea vacated.

What are the advantages and disadvantages with plea bargaining?

One of the advantages of a plea bargain is the chance to have a sentence lightened without the case going to court. Not to mention the time and money that can be saved by both the defendant and the state. Usually, the defendant can get a reduction in the sentencing if they are prepared to plead guilty to the charges. Many times if there is more than one charge, the defendant can take a plea bargain and possibly have one or more of the charges dismissed.

The disadvantage of accepting a plea bargain would have to be releasing your right to forcing the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is an important aspect to consider if you are innocent of the charges or if the evidence against you is weak. Another disadvantage of accepting a plea bargain will be the criminal record that would follow them. Criminal records make finding a job more difficult.

A plea bargain is an opportunity for a person to plead guilty to charges in order to avoid more harsh charges. There are benefits to taking a plea bargain; however, there are also drawbacks. If you find yourself in a situation that requires a possible plea bargain, you should ask an Expert to evaluate your case particulars and provide legal insights to assist you in making a decision.
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