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The Pros and Cons of Pleading Guilty

May 19, 2017 |

Taking a plea bargain can alleviate the uncertainty of a criminal trial. In fact, over 90 percent of criminal convictions came as the result of a negotiated plea bargain. Getting a good bargain has little to do with whether someone is innocent or guilty. Instead, it falls on the incentives behind the action for each person in the process.

Incentives for Judges

Judges have a big incentive to accept a plea bargain: their time. Scheduling and holding a trial on an overcrowded ticket can be overwhelming. Judges are also very aware of how overcrowded prisons can get. When an offender is unlikely to do jail time anyway, it’s often prudent to process them out of the system ahead of time.

The downside comes for lower income defendants. Often, innocent defendants will accept a plea because they don’t have the income for a criminal defense lawyer.

Incentives for Prosecutors

While it may seem like prosecutors want to see the defendant suffer, it is more likely that a lessened caseload will be more appealing. Even further, a plea bargain guarantees a conviction. Even the strongest cases have a chance of a loss so a guaranteed positive outcome is most often preferable for prosecutors.

An added incentive comes into play when others are being charged with the alleged crime. Accepting a plea bargain from one defendant could lead to one guaranteed conviction and a strong base for a second conviction.

Protect Yourself Legally

As a defendant, whether pleading guilt is in your favor depends on your exact case. Due to the above reasons, a prosecutor or judge may push you to plead guilty, and you could face lower charges and fines as a result. However, in some cases, you could be sealing your fate in a case you could have won. Contact our criminal defense lawyers at Malamut & Associates today. Our only incentive is you achieve the best possible outcome.