Posted by Jim Yeargan in Jim's Blog on June 18, 2018
After being arrested for a crime in Georgia the first, and natural, though most people have is ‘How do I make this situation go away?’. No one wants to stand in front of the judge again and risk a long jail sentence after spending a few days or hours in a jail cell. Out of desperation or fear a person may eagerly accept the first plea deal offered by a prosecutor.
While there are times when a plea deal may be in your best interest, in most cases the prosecutor may offer you a harsher punishment than you deserve or you could deprive yourself of a real chance of having your charges completely dismissed. Before you accept a plea deal, there are a few things you should know.
Waiving Your Right to a Trial
Accepting a plea bargain means that you are waiving your right to a trial. The deal between yourself and the prosecutor representing the government means that you no longer have your case heard before a judge or jury.
The majority, over 90%, of criminal cases end in a plea bargain, but it is important to remember that not every bargain is necessarily a good deal for the accused criminal. Even if you are facing a seemingly minor charge like driving without a license or while under the influence, accepting a plea deal could negatively affect you in the future.
Potential Immediate Consequences
Agreeing to the plea deal offered by the prosecutor handling your case usually involves admitting guilt to the crime in return for a reduced sentence. Unfortunately, simply admitting guilt and establishing a criminal record could have far more consequences than the crime of which you were accused.
A person with a job that requires a clean criminal background could find themselves unemployed and unable to support themselves or their family. A person who is attempting to gain citizenship could find themselves facing deportation from the United States. Always make sure you understand all of the repercussions associated with admitting guilt to any crime.
In many cases, accepting a plea bargain means that you are agreeing to probation or another lesser penalty for a crime. Probation could include community service, paying restitution, or simply keeping yourself out of legal trouble for a set period of time.
However, if you do not fully understand the terms of your deal and violate any of them, you could find yourself facing the maximum penalty for your original charge. That conviction cannot be appealed and you could find yourself spending months or years in prison because you agreed to the possibility of that consequence when you accepted the deal.
Consult an Attorney
Plea deals are not always bad since they give you an opportunity to avoid some of the more serious penalties associated with a given crime. They could become bad if they are accepted without first being reviewed by a qualified criminal defense attorney.
The legal team of Yeargan & Kert is here to provide you with the legal advice you need before accepting any type of deal from a prosecutor. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation so that we can help you decide what options are best for you and your future.