Monday, September 7, 2015

Circumstances Where a Plea Deal May Be Negotiated

When an individual is charged with a crime, it is only the first step in the legal process. A defendant has the right to a trial in front of a jury of his or her peers in which a prosecutor must prove that a crime was committed. There are times, however, when it may be worthwhile to settle the case before there is a need for a trial.

In some cases, the cost of going to trial may be difficult to justify based on the offense committed. For instance, if someone was accused of possessing a small amount of marijuana, it may be easier to send that person to rehab or put that person on probation as opposed to trying for a full conviction. Therefore, the prosecutor may agree to reduce the charge and the penalties in exchange for a guilty plea.

If there is not enough evidence to get a full conviction on a charge, a plea may be negotiated between an attorney and the prosecutor in the case. Depending on the offense committed, the judge in the case may also take part in plea talks.

Regardless of whether a plea deal is offered, it is up to the defendant to accept the plea. An attorney cannot force a client to take a plea deal or accept it on a client's behalf if he or she does not agree to it. By law, an attorney is required to provide a zealous defense until or unless a client states otherwise.

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