Plea bargains a traditional approach used by many criminal defense attorneys to help avoid a criminal case from going to trial. In most plea bargaining cases, the prosecutor encourages the defendant to file a guilty plea as an incentive for reducing the punishment. The principle behind plea bargaining is to make the justice system speedier and fairer, while treating a criminal in a more humane manner as long as he or she is willing to plead guilty.
Charge and Sentence Plea Bargains
A charge plea bargain is a type of plea bargain that takes place when the prosecutor is willing to let the defendant plead guilty only to selective charges that may have been filed against him or her, or to a lesser charge than what may have been filed. For instance, if the defendant has been charged with the offense of burglary may be given an opportunity to file a guilty plea of “attempted burglary.” Similarly, a defendant who has been charged with DUI and Driving on a Suspended License, may be given the opportunity to file a guilty plea only to the charge of drunk driving.
Another type of a plea bargain is called a sentence bargain. In this bargain the defendant is informed about the quantum of his sentence in advance in case he or she is ready to plead guilty. In cases where the defendants face serious criminal charges and is concerned about receiving the “maximum” sentence, a sentence plea bargain may be a better way. Sentence bargains are typically granted only after the approval of the trial judge.
Breaching of the Deal
A plea bargain is a type of a legal contract between the defendant and the prosecutor, and both must comply with its terms and conditions. If the defendant is required to perform certain tasks such as testifying against another defendant, cooperating with the investigators in another case, as a part of the plea bargain, it is important to maintain those conditions. Any breach of such conditions may result in revocation of the plea bargain.
Similarly, if the prosecutor is responsible for breaching the plea bargains deal made with the defendant, the defendant may request for the plea to be set aside. The defendant may also approach the court to compel the prosecutor to stick to the terms and conditions of the plea bargain. This situation may typically occur if the prosecutor files additional criminal charges against the defendant, in violation of the plea bargain contract.
Securing the Terms of Plea Bargains
Defendants should ensure that the terms of the plea bargains are stated on the record when the plea deal is being made. Plea deals may also be limited only to a written agreement, which is signed by both the parties.
About Our Broward County Criminal Defense Attorneys
Broward County criminal lawyer William R. Moore has years of experience in criminal defense, including sex crimes and DUI. A felony or misdemeanor conviction of any type can have far-reaching consequences on your freedom, your employment, and your personal life. If you have been arrested in south Florida, contact Broward County Criminal Defense Attorney William R. Moore, P.A., with offices in Fort Lauderdale-Dade, Broward, and Fort Lauderdale Counties.