After the police arrested you for drug possession, you worried about how the situation would affect your professional and educational futures. What should you do to mitigate the fallout?
The American Bar Association explains how plea bargains work. Not only may you reduce your sentence, but you may also save yourself a court appearance.
How plea bargains work
With plea bargains, parties agree out of court about how to resolve a criminal case. Either the defendant or plaintiff may suggest or negotiate a plea bargain, but both sides must agree on the proposed resolution.
Usually, the defendant consents to plead guilty to a less severe charge or one of multiple charges. The prosecution may also suggest a less severe sentence as long as the defendant pleads guilty. Even then, the judge does not have to follow the recommendation.
Why plea bargains remain common
Plea bargains offer several benefits. For instance, courts avoid holding a trial for every drug crime and other criminal charges. As a defendant, accepting or proposing a plea bargain helps you save time and money that you could spend in court. You may also avoid a harsher punishment (potentially) and steer clear of public scrutiny if your case goes to trial.
How victims’ rights groups changed plea bargains
Because of victims’ rights groups and victims’ rights statutes, those charged with a crime have more influence over their plea bargains. If you and the other side agree on a proposed plea bargain, the public does not learn about its details until the court announces them.
Being arrested and facing a drug crime does not eliminate your options for reduced charges or a reduced sentence. A plea bargain may provide a viable port in a legal storm.