The Offer on the Table: The Advantages and Disadvantages of a Plea Bargain

Frequently, prosecutors offer plea bargains to defendants to help expedite the judicial process. When defendants accept a plea bargain, they essentially are admitting guilt to lesser charges in return for a concession from the prosecutor. The case usually ends at this point, and it’s removed from the court docket.

However, what exactly comes with accepting or rejecting a plea bargain? In this blog we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. Please call our firm as soon as possible at (305) 373-4400 if you are facing Florida criminal charges. Let us help guide you through the plea bargain process, outlined below:

What is a Plea Bargain?

Plea bargains are an agreed-upon reduced charge (either in severity or quantity) contingent upon the defendant agreeing to a guilty plea. The prosecutor will offer you a charge that either is “less severe” or has easier sentencing requirements. You should never discuss a plea bargain with a prosecutor without us or your defense attorney present. What may sound like a good deal at the moment might not be as attractive as it looks once you truly understand what it means for you.

Advantages

There are several advantages to accepting a plea bargain. The main benefit is the very nature of the plea bargain: the reduced charges you’ll have on your public criminal record. Reduced charges also bring with them a lighter sentence. If having a criminal record is unavoidable (which you will if you take a plea bargain or are convicted), it’s better to have fewer and less serious offenses on your record

It’s also possible that, with your reduced charges, you may get out of jail sooner. Depending on your charge, you may even be released from jail once your plea is accepted. At the very least, you will get out of jail earlier than if your case had gone to trial.

Also, a plea bargain means that your case will have a faster resolution. When you take a plea bargain, that’s basically the end of the process. There’s no trial, no additional court dates. This could be very beneficial for anyone with a job who is wanting to reduce the amount of work hours they’re going to miss because of court appearances.

The final benefit of accepting a plea bargain is that you will have reduced legal fees and associated costs by not going to court. However:

Disadvantages

Those advantages may seem very tempting, but it can be misleading for your case. There are three main disadvantages, and all of them are equally serious.

First, by accepting a plea bargain, you are saying that you are guilty. This admission of guilt becomes part of your criminal record, which could drastically affect your future. Future employers, licensing boards, government agencies, law enforcement, and the general public will be able to see your record.  

Furthermore, by accepting a plea, you make it impossible for a “not guilty” verdict. If you actually are not guilty or believe you have a chance at being ruled “not guilty,” you may not want to accept a plea bargain. Again, this should not be decided without the help of a seasoned Florida criminal defense attorney like Barry Wax.

Finally, you want to consider why the prosecution wants to offer you a plea bargain. If the state had a solid case against you, they would proceed without any talk of reduced charges. So, take the time to think about the motive of the prosecution for making this offer, and consider this carefully with your legal counsel.

The Verdict

Take the time to consider your situation and speak with your lawyer so that you can work together to make the best decision possible. Sometimes, we can get caught up in the panic and fear of being arrested and charged, so it’s important you speak with us right away.

You want a knowledgeable, experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer like Barry Wax to help give you the best counsel. Our law firm has a focus on criminal and white collar defense. If you have been charged with or are going to be charged with a crime in Florida, give us a call today at (305) 373-4400.

Written by Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

Law Offices of Barry M. Wax

For 32 years, I have provided both State- and Federal-Level representation for those facing charges ranging from wire fraud, mortgage fraud, and healthcare fraud to identity theft, drug trafficking, money laundering, murder, DUI, domestic violence and numerous other criminal charges. In every case, it is my commitment to one-on-one service and support that has separated the Law Offices of Barry M. Wax from other criminal defense firms. When it comes to your future, you need a strong defense and the ability to make the right choices and regain control of your life.