Most criminal cases resolve before going to trial. Either charges are dismissed or accused individuals accept a plea agreement whereby they plead guilty in exchange for lesser penalties. Most criminal defendants receive some sort of plea agreement. Depending on the evidence, a plea agreement might look appealing to you. But you should carefully analyze your case and the offered plea deal to really determine if accepting a plea deal is really in your best interests.
Assessing your case and your plea deal
To make the decision that is right for you, you really should devote the time and energy necessary to fully vet your case and your plea deal. Here are just a few things that you can take into account when doing so:
- The maximum penalties: First, know what the maximum penalties are if you were to go to trial and lose. This will help you better analyze just how beneficial the offer is.
- The offered penalties: In addition to comparing the penalties under your plea deal to the maximum penalties, also take into account whether you’re actually comfortable accepting the penalties under the plea deal, all things considered.
- The strength of your criminal defense: Of course, you’ll want to look at the evidence to see if you have any compelling criminal defense options. If so, such as suppressing evidence, then taking your case to trial might be worth it. If not, then you might want to more carefully consider your plea deal.
- How similar cases have played out: Judges and juries are notoriously unpredictable, but you can look at the results of similar cases to get a better feel for your chances of success at trial.
- You willingness to deal with the stress: Having a criminal case hanging over your head can be stressful and scary, especially as trial dates loom near. Really think about how much time and energy you want to put into litigating your case in light of the risks involved.
Seek help analyzing your case
Thoroughly assessing every element of your case and your plea deal can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with the law. That’s why it might be best for you to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney who will know how to not only analyze your case, but also build the criminal defense strategy that you want and deserve.