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Plea Bargains Can Reduce Criminal Penalties

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Chicago criminal defense attorneyWhen you have been charged with a crime—especially a non-violent crime such as drug possession—a criminal defense attorney will do everything he or she can to help you avoid a conviction. In some situations, however, the circumstances and the evidence against you may simply be too much. Or perhaps you really did possess illegal drugs or otherwise committed the crime of which you have been accused. While such a situation may seem hopeless, nothing could be further from the truth. There are several options that may be available to help minimize the penalties associated with your prosecution. One of the most common ways of reducing a sentence is by reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain or plea agreement is the result of a series of negotiations between prosecutors and a criminal defendant—usually handled through his or her attorney. In many cases, the negotiations also include a judge who has the authority to approve alternative sentencing options in advance. When developing a plea agreement, prosecutors will generally offer to lessen the defendant’s sentence by reducing the number or severity of the charges against the individual. Sometimes, a plea deal will even allow the defendant to participate in deferred prosecution or other diversionary programs instead of receiving a standard conviction and sentence. In return, the defendant will usually need to plead guilty or no contest to the agreed upon charges.

Benefits to the State

While a plea bargain may ultimately serve the defendant, prosecutors also have a vested interest reaching an agreement. When a plea deal can be reached, it means that prosecutors will not need to spend time or resources building a case to take to trial. Plea bargains also help keep the court’s schedule open for other cases. In some cases, the terms of a plea agreement may even require the defendant to cooperate in the prosecution of other individuals.

Questions About Plea Agreements

Some people believe that plea bargains allow criminal defendants to escape responsibility for their actions. Others maintain that plea deals offered by prosecutors compromise a defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and a jury trial. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, has long held that plea bargains are not unconstitutional as long as they are voluntary on the part of the defendant and that he or she fully understands the consequences of the deal.

If you have been charged with drug possession and would like to know more about reaching a plea deal that could protect your future, contact an experienced Chicago criminal defense attorney. Call 773-276-5541 for a free consultation at offices of Luisi Legal Group today.

 

Sources:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/plea_bargain

http://supreme-court-cases.insidegov.com/l/2919/McCarthy-v-United-States

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