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Things to consider before accepting a plea bargain

If you are accused of committing a crime, your freedom is entirely up to the court. Depending on the nature of the crime you have been accused of committing, a conviction could attract a fine, jail time or even an execution. A plea bargain is one of the defense options you can consider when charged with a crime. A plea bargain is an offer from the prosecution that allows the accused person to plead guilty for a lesser charge in exchange for lenient sentencing. While a plea bargain may offer some sort of relief when the odds are stacked against you, there are certain considerations you need to take into account before taking this route. Here are some of them:

A criminal record is inevitable

By pleading guilty to a lesser crime, you may reduce the penalty you would have faced if you were to be convicted of the original crime. However, you will still have a criminal record to contend with. Of course, having a criminal record is a big deal since it will impact your life in a number of ways. For instance, a criminal record can prevent you from renting property, finding work or even earning a college admission or scholarship. A conviction could also hurt your residency status if you are not a citizen of the U.S.

You may forfeit your right to appeal

By accepting a plea bargain, you will certainly be admitting guilt to a crime. It also means that you will be accepting the penalty that will be recommended by the prosecution. The result, you may not appeal the sentence that will be handed down to you by the court.

Know your rights

Being accused of a crime can turn your life upside down. Fortunately, the law accords you the right to a fair trial. As such, it is important that you carefully weigh your legal options and the facts of the case before deciding whether a plea deal is right for you.

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