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Why you should refuse a plea bargain

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2023 | Criminal Law |

Facing criminal charges can leave you fearful and anxious. With so much uncertainty about the process and the outcome, you might feel tempted to consider an offered plea bargain. While such an agreement could settle the case quickly, you should consider the ramifications before you make that choice.

There are several reasons why you should think twice before taking a plea.

Sacrifice your right to a fair trial

Accepting a plea bargain means sacrificing your right to a fair trial. Agreeing to a deal means you lose the opportunity to present your case in court where you could challenge the witnesses, face your accuser and potentially cast enough reasonable doubt for an acquittal.

Face unintended consequences

One thing you might not realize is that the plea bargain requires you to plead guilty to a crime. Sometimes you plead to a lesser charge, but it still leaves you with a criminal record. This may create long-term complications, including problems finding work, renting a home and pursuing future growth opportunities.

Understand systemic fallibility

Many people consider a plea bargain because the evidence against them appears significant. Remember that the system is susceptible to mistakes, so you might have sufficient grounds for dismissal or to contest certain evidence based on procedural errors or misinterpretations. You lose that opportunity with a plea bargain.

The American Bar Association reports that as much as 98% of criminal convictions stemmed from a plea bargain. That reflects a lot of missed opportunities to fight for inherent rights and make a case. Avoid pleading guilty unnecessarily by fighting your case instead of taking a plea bargain.