Many criminal cases “plea out.” Of those that go to trial, they are for varying reasons, according to Fort Lauderdale criminal lawyer William Moore. Some criminal cases are great for going to trial due to the underlying facts or the conviction with with a defendant believes he is innocent or unfairly arrested. For example, when a person asserts total innocence, or when a defendant was targeted or harassed by police officers, these are better for going to trial. Likewise, when the plea agreements offered by assistant state attorneys are not good, or are not agreements the defendant would be willing to consider, trial is the best option.
In some instances, a defendant may want to take a plea agreement or it may be in his best interest to do so. For example, if a store caught the defendant on video switching the tags on expensive articles of clothing before purchasing them, it may be best to plea to the lesser offense of petit theft rather than grand theft. That way, the defendant does not risk near-certain conviction by the judge or jury without knowing the consequences in terms of sentencing. It may be in a defendant’s best interests to plead guilty or no contest in a case where he or she is unable or unwilling to do any jail time, because the defense attorney may be able to work out a plea deal with the state attorney that involves probation, classes such as anger management, or community service in lieu of time in jail. The availability of these alternatives depends on many factors, including the severity of the charge(s) and the defendant’s criminal history, if any.
So what makes a good plea agreement? The answer, from a criminal defense attorney’s perspective, is one that the client thinks is reasonably fair and which he can accomplish. For example, probation is not desirable nor possible for all defendants. If an individual is a frequent drug user, perhaps, or a long rap sheet, probation is not always the best solution, especially when it goes on for long periods of time. Unfortunately, violating probation can cause more problems and result in jail or prison time, so avoiding probation in the first instance is important for some criminal defendants.
In any case, a defendant has a constitutional right to a trial -- and many should and do exercise that right, whether before a judge or a jury of their peers. For that reason, the possibility of taking a plea agreement, or what constitutes a good one in your circumstances, can be addressed by Broward criminal defense attorney Moore.
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