The penalties associated with your criminal charges might be quite severe, threatening you with extensive jail or prison time, excessive fines, and a damaging criminal record that may haunt you for years to come. Given the stakes involved in your case, you may be tempted to accept a plea deal pushed your way by the prosecution. Although one of these agreements can lead to lesser penalties, you need to carefully assess such an offer to determine if it’s really in your best interests before accepting it.
Factors to consider
When analyzing a plea deal, you should look to a number of factors. Each of the following could be a key consideration in your case:
- Your defense arguments, including whether you have the ability to suppress any of the prosecution’s most damaging evidence.
- The weaknesses in your case and the difficulties associated with addressing those weaknesses.
- The maximum penalties that prosecutors may seek if you take your case to trial and lose.
- The difference between those maximum penalties and the penalties being offered in your plea deal.
- How cases with similar facts have played out at trial.
- How quickly you want to move past this chapter in your life and get back to living as normal of a life as possible.
- Your willingness to deal with the time, effort, and stress of litigation.
Deciding whether to admit guilt is a tough endeavor, especially when there are criminal penalties involved. But you can’t make the decision that is best for you without fully understanding your criminal defense options and your likelihood of success should you choose to take your case to trial.
That’s where the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney may prove beneficial. He or she can educate you and provide you with guidance so that you can make the fully informed decision that is right for you. Hopefully then you can secure the outcome that best protects your future.