Anyone who is a fan of criminal dramas on television has heard of plea bargains. These legal agreements seem to crop up in nearly every episode. For as common as the term plea bargain is, few people really understand what they are and how they are used in real life. This article will introduce you to Wisconsin Plea Bargains and what you should consider before entering into a plea bargain.
At its most basic, a plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to obtain a more lenient sentence or to dismiss other charges.
Plea bargains are popular because it helps defendants and their families avoid the risks and repercussions of going through a trial and likely being convicted for a crime. News travels fast these days and “innocent until proven guilty” does not always exist in our personal lives. Even the whisper of guilt can cause devastating consequences for people, such as a job loss and irreparable damage to their reputation.
When a defendant accepts a plea bargain, he or she can avoid many of these consequences.
Without a plea bargain, a case goes to trial. Sometimes defendants accept plea bargains because they offer a far better outcome than the defendant could hope to achieve by going to trial. Felonies might be dismissed or the case is sent to the Deferred Prosecution Unit. Prosecutors like to offer plea bargains because it results in a conviction, but requires far less time and work on their part. Defendants usually benefit too, especially if there is a high chance of them losing at trial. In addition, the punishments offered with plea bargains are almost always less severe than what would be decided at trial.
In many cases, the answer is not so cut and dry and defendants don’t know what to do. This is where the advice and representation of a skilled criminal defense attorney becomes invaluable. An attorney who is experienced with plea bargains and the local judicial system will be able to tell you if the plea bargain is a better choice or if you are likely to obtain a more favorable outcome by going to trial.
Wisconsin plea bargains usually follow the traditional pattern: prosecutors offer to drop some of the criminal charges or reduce their sentencing recommendations in exchange for the guilty plea. Sometimes, these plea bargains make the difference between jail time, probation, or even a conviction.
Once you have agreed to a plea bargain, you have until your sentencing date to withdraw the plea and opt to go to trial instead. It’s possible that new evidence was uncovered or something else occurred to make you change your mind about the deal. After sentencing, the only way to challenge the plea or your sentence is to file an appeal. It’s important to note that a plea bargain does not take away your ability to file an appeal.
Wisconsin plea bargains can get complicated, but they are worth exploring for the benefits they offer to defendants. The criminal defense attorneys at Eisenberg Law Offices would be happy to take a look at your case and discuss your best defense strategy, including plea bargains. If you are facing criminal charges, contact our team at 608-256-8356 or by emailing Info@eisenberglaw.org to arrange a private and confidential consultation.
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The Information Contained In This Site Is Not Intended To Provide Legal Advice. Please Consult An Attorney To Discuss The Facts Of Your Individual Situation. Eisenberg Law Office, S.C. 308 E. Washington Ave., Madison, WI 53703 USA (608) 256-8356