Criminal Defense Attorney | Plea Deals In Wisconsin
Consult A Criminal Defense Attorney Before Accepting A Plea Deal
We’ve all heard about plea deals or plea bargains in legal cases. These are situations that occur when you or your attorney agree to plead guilty to a lesser offense in exchange for the prosecutor reducing the more serious charge or charges against you.
On the face of it, they seem to be a good option, but that’s not necessarily true. Deciding whether or not to accept a plea deal is not always so cut and dried and may not be in your best interests. This is where the advice of a criminal defense attorney becomes important. An experienced attorney will be able to assess the situation and advise whether the plea deal makes sense for you or not.
How Plea Bargains Work
You, your attorney, or even the prosecutor may be the first to suggest a plea bargain. Prosecutors and judges like plea deals because they help move cases through the system faster. Defendants like plea deals because they can avoid being convicted of a more serious crime and remove the uncertainty of a trial. You know what the outcome will be as soon as the deal is offered instead of having to spend weeks or months waiting for a trial and a jury verdict.
The judge always has the final say on the sentence. So, even if the prosecutor offers a deal, that does not mean the deal will go through.
Negotiating A Plea Deal
It can be tempting to negotiate a plea deal yourself, but this is a bad idea. Any time you have been charged with a felony, you should hire a criminal defense attorney to represent you. The stakes are simply too high to try and go it alone. If a plea deal is offered, don’t jump at it right away. You should at least consult an attorney before accepting or rejecting the offer, but it will be even better for you if you let the attorney handle negotiations on your behalf. A criminal defense attorney has the skills and experience needed to negotiate a plea bargain including less jail time, a lesser charge, and reduced court fines and fees.
Keep in mind that you are innocent until proven guilty! You absolutely do not have to accept the prosecutors offer on the spot, nor should you cave in to pressure to accept the deal when you know you are innocent of the crime.
When To Reject A Plea Deal
Sometimes it’s just not in your best interest to accept a plea deal. It’s okay to reject the deal that is offered if it isn’t right for you. It may seem to be the easier route to just accept the deal and move on, but if your attorney thinks the prosecutor’s case is weak, the evidence is lacking, or the deal isn’t fair, he/she may advise you to reject the deal and go to trial. If that is your attorney’s recommendation then he/she must believe you stand a strong chance of beating the charges.
Don’t rush to judgment and reject the deal out of hand, either. Take some time to think about it, discuss your options with your attorney and your family, and get answers to any questions you have.