While you may not be familiar with the plea bargain process, you do understand what it means to bargain – and the same basics apply when it comes to criminal charges. If you have ever purchased a new car, for example, you very likely engaged in some bargaining tactics. If you are facing criminal charges, having a skilled criminal lawyer with considerable experience in the plea bargain process on your side is always in your best interest.
The Plea Bargain
If you are facing criminal charges in the State of Texas and you are motivated to resolve the charges without going to trial, it is very likely that you will proceed by engaging in the plea bargain process, which amounts to attempting to negotiate a plea that you are willing to sign off on. Throughout this process, your dedicated criminal lawyer will skillfully negotiate on behalf of favorable terms that work for you.
The term bargain implies that both parties – you and the state – are giving up something in order to gain something. As the defendant, you are giving up the right to a trial by jury for a guaranteed sentence, which is lower than you would have received if you had been convicted by a jury of the original charge levied against you. The prosecutor (or state), on the other hand, is giving up a conviction on that same original charge for a guaranteed conviction on the lesser, bargain charge – as such, there is no possibility that the state will face a total loss on the matter.
Carefully Consider Your Rights
When you choose to plead guilty in a plea bargain, it is critical that you carefully consider the rights you are giving up, including:
- You give up your right to have a jury decide your case. The fact is that you are innocent until you are found guilty, and you will be giving up your chance to ultimately be found innocent.
- You give up your right not to incriminate yourself. Once you admit to committing the crime outlined in the plea bargain, you have incriminated yourself fully.
- You give up the right to confront any witnesses – or to have your criminal lawyer ask them important questions on the stand (while they are under oath).
If the prosecution is willing to engage in such bargaining, it is because they are not convinced that a jury will find you guilty of the charges you face. They are willing to hedge their bets because they do not believe they have a fool-proof case.
Work Closely with an Experienced Lawyer
If you are facing criminal charges, it is imperative that you understand your rights and that you carefully strategize your best path forward with an experienced criminal lawyer whom you trust. Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, is a dedicated criminal defense lawyer who is committed to zealously building your strongest defense in support of your case's most favorable resolution – whether that involves a plea bargain or not. You and your case are important to us, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 for more information today.