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What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Plea Bargaining?

On Behalf of | May 12, 2021 | Criminal Law, Legal Ethics

When a person is charged with a crime, they are faced with many choices. In many cases, the defendant that is accused of a crime has the opportunity to enter into a plea bargain. A lawyer can help guide the defendant throughout this process. There are advantages and disadvantages of entering into a plea agreement, but both depend on whether the defendant had any involvement in the crime.

Benefits of Plea Bargaining

If the person accused of the crime was involved or did commit the crime, there will be some advantages of plea bargaining. Some of those advantages include:

  • The defendant may wind up with a lighter sentence than if they had taken their chances with a court trial. Fines and restitution may be reduced.
  • It removes the uncertainty of the trial for the defendant.
  • It creates the certainty of conviction for the prosecutor.
  • A length jury trial is avoided. If the accused wishes to avoid a long trial and the expenses and emotional investment that it may include, a plea bargain can be advantageous.
  • It can reduce the jail population. Lower sentences mean less people incarcerated at one time.
  • It frees up resources in the criminal justice system since the case is processed quicker and easier.

Drawbacks of Plea Bargaining

Some disadvantages of plea bargains include:

  • The defendant does not have the opportunity to have their case decided by a jury.
  • It could lead to convictions of innocent people. In some situations where a person is falsely accused of a crime, they may feel it is more beneficial to take a plea deal instead of going to a court trial. This also leads to a criminal record of the person who enters into a plea bargain.
  • Judges may not always approve a plea bargain. A judge could always make the sentence more severe than what was agreed upon in the plea bargain. The judge could also impose no sentence if that is the judge’s decision.
  • The victim of the crime could feel that the sentence is too light for the defendant.
  • There is no chance for the defendant to appeal a plea bargain since the defendant plead guilty.
  • There is a possibility that a defendant is coerced into the plea bargain.

To decide whether a plea bargain is the right choice, the accused should speak to a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in criminal law.

South Jersey Criminal Defense Lawyers at Agre & St. John Help Clients Make Decisions About Plea Bargains

If you have been accused of a crime, a South Jersey criminal defense lawyer at Agre & St. John can help you with your defense. We can provide assistance on plea bargaining and help you decide if it is right for your case. We are located in Haddonfield, New Jersey, and we serve clients throughout South Jersey, including Camden County, Burlington County, Gloucester County, and Salem County. Complete our online form or call us at 856-428-7797 for an initial, private consultation.