More Than 30 Years Of Service To The Atlanta Area

What are some possible risks of accepting a plea bargain?

On Behalf of | Oct 26, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and a prosecutor. Typically, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a less severe charge while the prosecutor agrees to drop the more serious charge.

When Atlanta, Georgia defendants accept a plea bargain, they have a chance to reap several rewards such as:

  • Eliminates uncertainty
  • Reduced incarceration sentence or no jail time
  • Faster resolution than going to trial

Unfortunately, accepting a plea bargain can also come with several risks for defendants. However, you should know that experienced legal counsel can protect you from unfair plea deals.

What are these possible risks?

The early aftermath of an arrest is tough on defendants. They are incarcerated and usually feel helpless to defend themselves. When a prosecutor approaches them with a plea bargain, defendants may accept without knowing the risks or the possible disadvantages.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), coercive factors can pressure a defendant to accept an unfair plea deal. Examples of coercive factors include:

  • Pretrial detention. The isolation of defendants from their community and family members until they decide to bargain or not to bargain.
  • Low transparency. Defendants rarely get to see how the involved parties arranged the plea bargain.
  • Loose rules of (evidence) discovery. Prosecutors might hide evidence that would persuade defendants that they have a chance to win in a trial.
  • Sentence enhancements. Enhancing trial penalties or possible sentences can convince defendants to bargain instead of risking a trial.
  • Unfair judicial precedent. In many plea bargains, the judge approves the arrangement without much investigation of the deal.

Protecting your rights is a critical part of any defense strategy, particularly when facing severe charges. Before you accept a plea bargain, consider learning more about the criminal defense process to decide if the deal offered to you is fair and aboveboard.