If you are facing federal criminal charges, there is a good chance prosecutors will consider negotiating a plea deal with you. After all, according to Fair and Just Prosecution, upwards of 97% of federal prosecutions conclude with defendants pleading guilty.
Plea deals are good for prosecutors, as they free up resources to use on other matters. Still, plea bargains often tend to be better for prosecutors than they are for criminal defendants. Before accepting a plea deal, you must be absolutely certain you are ready to do so.
Are you guilty?
It should come as no surprise to you that pleading guilty requires admitting guilt. It also means you are likely to have a federal criminal record for the remainder of your life. Simply put, if you are not actually guilty of a crime, it may be imprudent to admit to it.
How is the evidence?
If you did what the prosecutors allege, pleading guilty may be in your legal, financial and personal interests. Yet, prosecutors might not have enough evidence to secure a conviction. If they do not, pleading guilty may play right into their hands by effectively doing their job for them.
Do you have a defense?
There are often many ways to defend against criminal charges. If you have not yet explored all possible defenses and considered their likelihood of success, pleading guilty might be entirely premature.
Ultimately, even if accepting a prosecutor’s plea agreement ends up being the right thing to do, it is rarely wise to do so without fully exercising all your legal rights, including your right to legal counsel.