When and How to Seek a Plea Bargain in Wisconsin
Know what a plea bargain does and the benefits to you before accepting a plea bargain in Wisconsin
An arrest always creates anxiety. You have to face the police, and you may go to jail. Unlike in a civil lawsuit, you also deal with a system that works quickly, moving from arrest to arraignment to trial before you really know what is happening. As it happens, you may be offered a plea bargain. This often represents a break from the punishment that might otherwise await. Before you accept, though, you should make sure you understand what it all means.
What a Plea Bargain Does
Prosecutors use plea bargains to dispose quickly of cases on their docket. It saves the court’s resources by settling a criminal matter before it reaches trial, and represents a “win” for their office. As part of the bargain, you agree to a punishment that usually requires less time in jail, lesser charges, and/or lower fines, than the prosecutor would seek if you go to trial.
Benefits for You
The most obvious benefit you can receive from a plea bargain is a lighter punishment than you might receive at the end of a trial. If you know you are guilty, this saves you the strain and embarrassment of trial. Beyond this, a plea bargain gives you some certainty that you might otherwise lack. If you know what to expect from your sentencing, it can reduce anxiety and move you forward with the rest of your life.
There is some risk to accepting a plea agreement. One is that, if you agree to plead guilty, it can stay on your record just as a conviction after trial would. That criminal record sticks with you for the rest of your life. Further, your judge will examine the agreement, but is not bound to honor it. If he or she believes the agreed upon sentence is unfair, you may not gain anything in exchange for your plea.
Negotiating a plea agreement requires a steady, experienced legal hand. If you have been arrested, don’t trust just anyone to manage the process. Contact Eisenberg Law Offices online at https://www.eisenberglaw.org/contact-us/, or at (608)256-8356 to get experienced criminal defense.