What Can You Expect from a Plea Bargain in MN?

A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense that allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for a reduced sentence or dismissal of other charges. The role of a defense lawyer in this negotiation is pivotal. When a possible plea deal presents itself, the defense attorney will walk the client through the pros and cons, advising on the best course of action. Plea deals can lower charges and overall time served, but they also have drawbacks. Those who accept plea deals must admit guilt and waive their right to a trial. Discussing options with a lawyer before deciding whether pleading guilty is the best course of action is essential.

To schedule a consultation with one of our Minneapolis attorneys at Brockton D. Hunter P.A., contact us at (612) 979-1112.

What Is a Plea Bargain, and How Does It Work?

A plea bargain is a common method for resolving a criminal case without going to trial. This legally binding agreement usually involves negotiation between the accused, represented by their defense lawyer, and the prosecutor, working for the state or federal government.

Depending on the crime, the prosecutor might offer to reduce or drop certain charges in return for an admission of guilt on lesser offenses. They might also agree to recommend a more lenient sentence if the defendant pleads guilty to the crime as charged.

Both sides must agree for it to be accepted. In many cases, a judge must also approve the deal. Otherwise, the case would proceed to trial.

What Is the Role of a Defense Attorney in Negotiating a Plea Bargain?

A defense attorney plays a crucial role in guaranteeing fairness during plea negotiations. They advocate for their client and will take the lead in talks with the prosecutors. The lawyer helps their client make an informed decision on how to proceed in the case.

The attorney's sound judgment allows them to evaluate the evidence and advise their client on what would be the most beneficial outcome. As they have an intimate knowledge of the law and specific details concerning their client's case, they can craft a plea agreement tailored to their client's situation.

What Are the Advantages of a Plea Deal?

Plea deals provide numerous advantages to criminal defendants. By taking a plea deal, the defendant can avoid the cost of trial. Additionally, they gain more control over the outcome of their case, as they are spared the uncertainty of an unpredictable verdict at trial.

In some cases, a plea bargain can result in a lesser sentence than would be doled out in court.

Sentence reductions can happen if the prosecutor decides to:

  • Pursue lesser charges,
  • Drop one or more charges, or
  • Recommend leniency.

What Are the Drawbacks of Taking a Plea Deal?

Although pros exist to accepting a plea bargain, there are also cons.

One of the disadvantages is that the defendant gives up certain rights when they accept the plea.

These include the following:

  • The right to a jury trial
  • The right against self-incrimination
  • The right to confront witnesses

Additionally, the defendant may not be able to appeal the plea. In other words, they could not take the matter to a higher court to determine whether some legal error affected the outcome.

Another potential issue is that innocent people might enter guilty pleas due to pressure from the government or out of fear of harsher punishments at trial.

Discussing Your Options with an Attorney

The decision to accept a plea bargain should not be made lightly. Whether you go to trial or opt for a plea depends on your circumstances.

To make an informed decision, consulting a criminal defense lawyer and being honest about your situation is important. An attorney will have the experience and knowledge to assess your case, examine the evidence, listen to your story, and decide on the most effective avenue to pursue – either accepting a plea bargain or heading into court proceedings.

At Brockton D. Hunter P.A., our Minneapolis lawyers seek favorable outcomes for our clients through negotiation or litigation. To speak with us about your case, call (612) 979-1112 or submit an online contact form today.