Is A Guilty Plea Worth It?
A person charged with a crime can choose to plead guilty or not guilty. By pleading guilty, a person is acknowledging the facts of which they are accused. Before pleading guilty, they usually negotiate with the prosecutor to try to obtain a more lenient sentence.
To avoid going to trial, the accused person can choose to plead guilty. The person can do so if the evidence against him is overwhelming, for example. In this case, he acknowledges his responsibility before a judge and agrees to receive a sentence without a trial taking place. If you have been caught driving under the influence and want to avoid a trial, get the best DUI lawyer in Philadelphia to defend you.
Negotiating With The Prosecutor
An accused can negotiate his sentence with the prosecutor. Before pleading guilty, the accused generally negotiates to obtain a less severe sentence than that which he would have had at the end of a trial. The prosecutor generally agrees to negotiate to ensure that the accused is punished for his action, which is never certain when a trial takes place. For example, he may choose to negotiate when some of the evidence against the accused is weak or uncertain. This may be the case if a witness cannot remember certain important elements.
It Depends On The Case
In certain cases, a guilty plea is worth it. However, the prosecutor must follow rules before accepting an agreement with an accused. For example, he may agree to accuse the victim of a less serious crime than the one he was initially accused of. However, the accusation must still correspond to what actually happened. For example, the prosecutor cannot accuse someone of having committed theft when in fact he burned down a house. On the other hand, he could charge him with simple theft rather than robbery (robbery with violence) if the threats or violence are difficult to prove in the circumstances. Therefore, the accused would get a lesser sentence in this case.
The Benefits And Risks
Some of the benefits of pleading guilty are:
- Facing the case head-on to resolve it more quickly
- Reducing lawyer expenses because of not going to trial
- Avoiding the jury
- Plea bargaining with the prosecutor to reduce the possible sentence, if the case had gone to trial.
There are some risks to pleading guilty and these include:
- If the person is innocent, they run the risk of going to jail and serving time.
- There is no time to prepare a defense and spend time with family before going to jail.
- There are statutory minimum sentences that prosecutors cannot avoid and so pleading guilty means that you will still go to jail and serve at least the minimum time.
- The judge is the one who does the sentencing and so it will all depend on the judge.
Reaching An Agreement
If the accused does not reach an agreement with the prosecutor to plead guilty, then he has to stand trial. Some people try to avoid standing trial and do their best to reach an agreement. When the prosecutor and the accused agree on the sentence, they present it to the judge. The judge can always refuse the agreement if they deem it unreasonable in the circumstances.
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