If you are indicted and charged with certain crimes, you may reach a deal with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser crime in exchange for a lenient punishment. This is known as a plea deal. This may be a sensible route if the prosecution’s case is much stronger and the resulting punishment if convicted is severe.
Before deciding whether to enter a plea deal or not, however, it helps to understand what you are getting into. This way, you will be able to negotiate the right plea deal for your case.
Understanding a plea deal
A plea deal is a negotiated settlement in a criminal case. Basically, both the prosecution and the defense agree to the charges without a trial. The settlement arrived at is then presented before the judge for review and sentencing. A plea deal offers a number of benefits to the defendant like reduced criminal charges and sentencing, faster resolution as well as a predictable outcome for your case among others.
Types of plea bargains
Based on the circumstances of your case, you may enter any of the following plea deals:
Probably the most common type of plea bargain, a charge bargain happens when you accept to be charged with a less serious offense than what you were originally indicted for. An example would be entering a deal to face manslaughter rather than murder charges.
This type of plea bargain applies when you agree to plead guilty to the crime you have been indicted and charged with in exchange for a lenient sentence. An example would be admitting to drunk driving in exchange for a fine and rehabilitation rather than going to jail.
This is less common. Fact bargaining happens when the prosecution agrees to withhold certain facts of your case from the official court proceeding upon your admission to certain facts of the crime you are being charged with.
Plea deals are an important part of the criminal justice system. Learning more about Georgia criminal law can help you protect your rights and interests while negotiating a plea deal for your criminal case.