As someone facing a criminal conviction, you may wonder what your options are. If a plea bargain gets offered, you may think that taking it is your best option. But is it?
It is important to understand the pros and cons of plea bargains before ever accepting a deal. This understanding can make all the difference for years to come after your case has come to a close.
Pros of a plea bargain
Cornell Law School shows what a plea bargain can do for you. For benefits, plea bargains provide a lot of use for individuals whose conviction is all but confirmed. If you think there is no way to avoid a jury convicting you of a crime, a plea bargain may help. It allows you to skip a trial and avoid the scrutiny of a jury. You can also likely work out a deal with the prosecuting side. They will often reduce the number or severity of the charges you face in exchange for your guilty plea.
Potential cons you may face
However, a guilty plea will stick with you on your criminal record. This can impact your ability to get a job, attend college or even rent an apartment. If you cannot reintegrate into society easily, this creates huge emotional and financial pressure. Not only that, but if you are not guilty of the crime you face charges for, accepting a plea bargain can feel like an act of self-condemnation. It is harder to prove your innocence after the fact if you already submitted a plea bargain, too.
Deciding whether or not to accept a plea bargain is a big deal. If you face such a decision, consider contacting a legal professional for guidance through it.