What to Consider When Contemplating a Plea Bargain in New York
While a plea bargain should not necessarily be your front line strategy when accused of a criminal case, there are times when it’s going to be your best option.
Here are some times when it might be a good idea to take a plea bargain from a New York criminal prosecutor.
Deferred Prosecution Agreement
A deferred prosecution agreement is a form of plea bargain, and it’s often a great outcome for a case. The prosecutor agrees to avoid pursuing a conviction and you agree to certain conditions such as probation, community service, counseling, and promises to avoid certain activities.
If asked to plead guilty as part of this agreement it can be used against you in future cases or go on your record, but sometimes this is not required. Nevertheless it is considered a form of plea bargain.
Often a significant enough reduction in charges can vastly reduce the amount of time served. If you can get a charge downgraded from a felony to a misdemeanor a plea bargain is often well worth it, even though you will still have a criminal record.
Another instance might be when a highly stigmatized charge gets downgraded to a less stigmatized charge, thus increasing your chances of putting your life back together again after the process is complete.
While it’s not an ideal situation, some people sit in jail for months or even years before they are convicted, simply because they can’t obtain pretrial release. While New York bail reform laws have made improvements, this still happens.
Sometimes, a plea bargain sets you up to plead guilty for a crime with a sentence that is less than or equal to the amount of time you’ve already served. For some people, even if they are innocence, taking the plea and going home starts to look like a really attractive deal.
It’s really important to reflect on the strength of the evidence that the prosecution might have against you, and the story they can tell with that evidence. You should have a frank and honest conversation with your lawyer on this point. Even innocent people lose at trial.
If the evidence against you is strong, it might be wise to take a plea deal for the lighter sentence. Sometimes if you push a trial the judge and prosecutor decide you’re “not taking responsibility” or are “not showing remorse.” It’s not fair, because it penalizes you for exercising your rights, but it happens.
Get Help Today
You should always discuss your plea bargain and your specific case with an experienced criminal attorney. You should never try to make the decision alone. Plea bargains are often overused, and prosecutors often use them to coerce defendants so they can get a quick conviction.
Contact us before making any decisions about your criminal case. We’ll help you evaluate the plea bargain as well as your other option. Contact us today.