If you are facing a criminal case, you may be picturing a courtroom drama. Where you worry about having to spend a lot of time in the court, and even possibly in jail, while sides argue and a judge listens. However, in many cases, criminal court cases don’t actually get settled in the courts. Instead, a plea deal is negotiated between the parties, and the criminal case is resolved. This can be a confusing process that doesn’t usually make it into television shows, so here’s a breakdown of how the plea process can work.
Plea Bargaining: What Is It, and Why Do It?
A plea deal, or plea bargain, is a process through which your lawyer and the other party or their lawyers, come to an agreement in exchange for not going to court. The criminal case will be resolved after the deal is struck. There are several reasons why this can be beneficial for both parties:
- It saves time and court costs.
- It offers the defendant a chance to negotiate a less harsh punishment.
- It avoids publicity.
- The prosecution is guaranteed recompense, rather than risking that a judge will rule in the defendant’s favor.
- The court system also benefits by the reduced burden of conducting a full trial.
Who Can Ask for a Plea Deal?
Either side of a court case can suggest that the case be settled outside of the courts. Both sides must agree completely on the deal itself for it to be binding, and there are usually many negotiations involved. It is not uncommon in plea deals for the defendant to agree to pay large sums of money, or to plead guilty to charges with less harsh punishments, in exchange for having more significant charges dropped.
Are Plea Deals Private?
While the negotiations themselves are private, there is still a court process that must be followed to make the deal legally binding. Further, if the deal involves the defendant pleading guilty to lesser charges, the judge does not have to honor the promise of less harsh punishment. However in most plea bargain cases, the court will impose the sentence agreed to by the parties.
Contact Northwest Legal Advocates To Learn More
If you are facing a legal case and think a deal may be in your best interest, you can contact Northwest Legal Advocates for assistance. We offer expertise in a variety of legal areas, including labor rights, elder law, civil litigation, criminal defense, and much more. We can help you negotiate a deal that works for all parties. Schedule a consultation today.