Many criminal defendants across the country and in California are ultimately forced to make a difficult choice: Do they take a plea bargain, or do they push forward with a trial? This is a deeply personal decision and one that can have major, life-long ramifications either way. That’s why it is so important that individuals who have been accused of crimes fully understand what they are doing before they make a final decision about whether or not to accept a plea bargain.
Advantages of a Plea Bargain
When it comes to criminal law, accepting a plea bargain comes with many advantages, including:
- Acquiring a more lenient sentence, with lowered prison time and fines.
- The chance to protect other aspects of one’s life, such as a pension or professional license.
- Reduced legal expenses.
- Reduced stress and uncertainty as a legal issue is brought to a conclusion.
An attorney who is familiar with the area of criminal defense will understand the potential advantages of a plea bargain and attempt to negotiate the best deal possible for you.
Disadvantages of a Plea Bargain
Of course, there are many disadvantages as well. These include:
- Potentially pleading guilty to a crime that you didn’t commit.
- Losing any chance to prove your innocence.
- Forever having a guilty plea on your criminal record, which may come with a variety of legal, professional, and personal costs.
These decisions can be extremely difficult ones. Any individual who is considering taking a plea bargain should have an extensive conversation with their attorney about these advantages and disadvantages, then make the decision that works best for their legal situation.