When defendants are arrested and charged with a crime in New York, they will likely attempt to initiate a criminal defense plan to reduce the impact the criminal charges could have on his or her life. While it is ideal to have the charges reduced or dropped as a result of their defense action, this is not always possible. In addition, if a defendant has a criminal history, it is likely more challenging to reduce the penalties through a criminal defense action. Therefore, some defendants consider alternative options, such as negotiating a plea bargain.
What are the benefits of a defense plea bargain? A plea bargain is a popular option where a defendant agrees to plea a certain way, often guilty, in exchange for lesser penalties. In fact, almost 90 percent of criminal cases are settled by plea bargain. The reasoning is that both sides can benefit from a plea bargain. Prosecutors are able to save time and money by not having to prosecute the matter and defendants likely save themselves from the most serious penalties.
There can be many benefits to a plea bargain, depending on the circumstances.. For example, a defense plea bargain trades risk for certainty. This means that a defendant no longer has the uncertainty or anxiety commonly associated with a criminal trial and will know exactly what they will be charged with and what penalties they will face. Next, a major benefit of a plea bargain is its ability to help defendants avoid jail time. Even if a criminal charge usually carries a jail or prison sentence, a plea bargain could help the defendant avoid such a penalty. Plea bargains also assist defendants with avoiding stigmatizing sentences, avoiding publicity and avoiding the hassles commonly associated with a criminal trial.
While a plea bargain could offer a multitude of benefits for a criminal defendant, it is not always the best strategy. Therefore, it is important that those facing criminal charges consider all defense options available to them. This could help the defendant find the best fit for their situation, helping them protect their rights and interests.
Source: FindLaw, “Defense Plea Bargains,” accessed June 6, 2016