5 Reasons Why a Defendant Would Accept a Plea Bargain? 5 Common Reasons

A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant in which the defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser charge or a reduced sentence.

Plea bargains are very common in the criminal justice system, as they allow the prosecution to secure a conviction without going to trial, and the defendant to avoid the risks and costs of a trial.

But why would a defendant accept a plea bargain, especially if they are innocent or have a strong defense?

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Why Would a Defendant Accept a Plea Bargain

Here are some possible reasons:

1.Getting Out of Jail Faster

One of the main reasons for a defendant to accept a plea bargain is to get out of jail faster.

If the defendant is not granted bail or cannot afford it, they may have to wait in jail for months or even years before their case goes to trial.

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Plea bargain |Defense.com

During this time, they may lose their job, their home, their family, and their freedom.

A plea bargain may offer them a chance to get out of jail sooner.

For example, a defendant who is charged with a felony that carries a minimum of five years in prison may be offered a plea bargain to plead guilty to a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of one year in jail.

If the defendant has already spent six months in jail awaiting trial, they may be released immediately after pleading guilty.

2.Avoiding a Harsher Sentence

Another reason for a defendant to accept a plea bargain is to avoid a harsher sentence if they are convicted at trial.

Trials are unpredictable, and juries can be influenced by many factors, such as the evidence.

A defendant who goes to trial may face a higher level of offense, more charges, or aggravating circumstances.

A plea bargain may allow them to plead guilty and avoid the possibility of a longer sentence.

3.Preserving Their Reputation and Rights

A third reason for a defendant to accept a plea bargain is to preserve their reputation and rights.

Some criminal charges, such as sex crimes carry a social stigma that can damage the defendant’s relationships.

A conviction of such a charge may also result in the loss of certain rights, such as voting.

A plea bargain may enable the defendant to plead guilty to a less serious or less embarrassing charge.

For example, a defendant who is charged with sexual assault may be offered a plea bargain to plead guilty to indecent exposure and avoid being registered as a sex offender.

4.Saving Money and Time

A Fourth reason for a defendant to accept a plea bargain is to save money and time.

Trials are expensive and time-consuming, both for the defendant and the court system.

The defendant may have to pay for a lawyer, expert witnesses, investigators, and other fees.

The defendant may also have to spend a lot of time preparing for the trial.

A plea bargain may allow the defendant to resolve their case quickly and cheaply, without the need for a trial.

For example, a defendant who is charged with drug possession may be offered a plea bargain to plead guilty and pay a fine, instead of going to trial and facing the costs of a lawyer and the risk of a jail sentence.

5.Showing Remorse and Cooperation

A fifth reason for a defendant to accept a plea bargain is to show remorse and cooperation.

By pleading guilty, the defendant may demonstrate that they are sorry for their actions and willing to accept responsibility.

This may earn them the respect and leniency of the judge, the prosecutor, and the victim.

The defendant may also agree to cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for a plea bargain.

This may help them reduce their own charge or sentence, as well as contribute to the public interest and justice.

For example, a defendant who is charged with murder may be offered a plea bargain to plead guilty to manslaughter and testify against their accomplice, in return for a lighter sentence and a chance of parole.

Conclusion

Plea bargains are not always fair or desirable, but they are a reality of the criminal justice system.

There are many reasons why a defendant may accept a plea bargain, such as getting out of jail faster.

Therefore, a defendant should weigh the pros and cons of a plea bargain, and consult with a competent defense attorney.

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