Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian

(972) 369-0577

We Pick Up the Phone Every Time; Call 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

When you have been charged with a crime, a plea deal may be negotiated by both the defense with the prosecuting attorney. You, as the defendant in the case, can accept the option, meaning you will plead guilty without standing trial. Studies show that most defendants and their lawyers believe taking a plea deal is a good idea. One estimate asserts that in 2018, only two percent of federal criminal cases and about six percent of state-level cases culminated in the defendant standing trial.

What Makes a Plea Deal a Popular Alternative to a Jury Trial?

There are some compelling reasons why taking a plea deal may appeal to you. The following scenarios are possible:

  • Your case will be resolved sooner.
  • You can be reasonably sure of the end result.
  • Your charges may be deemed less egregious.
  • Your sentence may be lightened.
  • Your prosecution may be postponed.

What Are the Downsides of Making a Plea Deal?

There are definitely some negatives related to entering into a plea deal or plea bargain.

  • If you admit guilt for a crime in court, you will have a criminal record that will likely follow you for the rest of your life.
  • If you give up your right to a jury trial, you will never know if the outcome would have been better than what you will face following a plea deal.
  • If you file a plea, you may still have to serve a prison sentence, pay fines, and/or make restitution to the victim.
  • A plea deal is not always acceptable to the judge. They may decide to extend your sentence, order that the trial should go forward, or disallow your plea if they believe it was coerced or ill-advised.
  • By making a plea, you are giving up your right to appeal your charges. However, there are situations where specific claims may override the appeal waiver, including inadequate counsel, racial bias, and excessive and/or inappropriate sentencing.

The Different Types of Plea Deals or Plea Agreements

The U.S. Department of Justice has established three different types of plea bargain agreements, as well as a fact-stipulation tactic that supports one of the three main agreements. The three types of agreements are:

  • Charge agreements, wherein specific charges are either not followed or are dismissed
  • Recommendation agreements, wherein the prosecutor suggests a sentence or complies with a sentence the defendant requests
  • Specific sentence offense agreements, where the judge decides on a sentence that falls within the parameters for the offense or the state’s legitimate grounds for diverging from them

What Happens After You Make a Plea Deal?

After you, your attorney, and the prosecutor decide on the specifics of your plea deal, your attorney will examine it carefully to ensure that the document accurately lists all the conditions that were agreed upon. The judge will review your case and decide whether to accept the plea deal. If the plea deal goes forward, a hearing will be scheduled.

During the hearing, the judge will determine whether you fully understand your charges and the rights that you are giving up, the main one being a trial by jury. You must then plead guilty while under oath. At this point in the proceedings, the judge will announce your sentence and any additional penalties that may be attached to it.

Most often, you will not be able to change your plea. However, there are some circumstances where it may be overturned. A criminal defense attorney can counsel you regarding this possibility.

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Will Discuss the Plea Deal Process With You

So, should you take a plea deal? It depends. This is not a decision to be made lightly, as it means there will be a permanent guilty plea on your record. You need to make sure that the choice you make is the right one for you. In order to choose the best possible option in these circumstances, you need experienced help.

If you have been charged with a state or federal criminal offense and are considering making a plea deal, contact the knowledgeable legal team at Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian for a complimentary consultation. Our Collin County criminal defense attorneys take a personalized approach with every client, and we will fight to preserve your rights throughout the entire legal process. We have successfully defended clients in a wide range of criminal offenses, and we look forward to serving you. You owe it to yourself to call (972) 369-0577, chat online, or fill out our contact form today.

Written by: Rosenthal Kalabus & Therrian Last Updated : May 3, 2022