If you’re like many people, you’ve heard of plea deals. Plea deals are arrangements you and your attorney make with a prosecutor, and typically, they involve you agreeing to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a reduced sentence or other benefits. But what are the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal? This guide explains.
Pros and Cons of Accepting a Plea Deal
As with anything else, there are pros and cons to accepting a plea deal. The following sections give you a quick overview of both sides.
Pros of Accepting a Plea Deal
Some of the pros of accepting a plea deal include:
- A reduced sentence. One of the biggest benefits of accepting a plea deal is the potential for a reduced sentence. If you agree to plead guilty, your attorney may be able to negotiate a reduced sentence for you. In some cases, attorneys can help their clients avoid jail time altogether.
- A guaranteed outcome. If you go to trial, there’s no guarantee of how it will turn out. In fact, your attorney will tell you to prepare for anything. But when you accept a plea deal, you can avoid the uncertainty and know exactly what your sentence will be.
- Cost savings. Trials can get expensive quickly, so if you accept a plea deal, you can avoid the costs associated with repeated court appearances (and attorneys’ fees).
Related: Understanding Illinois DUI laws
Cons of Accepting a Plea Deal
There are a few downsides to accepting a plea deal, too, such as:
- Admitting guilt. In order to accept a plea deal, you must plead guilty to the charges against you. Usually, these are lesser charges than the original ones, but still, you’re pleading guilty to a crime.
- Limited ability to appeal. It may be difficult for you to appeal the case if you accept a plea deal. You should talk to your attorney about what will happen if evidence in your favor comes to light after you accept the deal.
- Pressure to accept. Sometimes people feel pressured to accept a plea deal, even when they have a strong defense. In many cases, that’s because they’re afraid of getting a harsher sentence if they go to trial. You should talk to your attorney about whether accepting a plea deal is a good idea in your case. Your lawyer will tell you all about your best chance at getting the best possible outcome.
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