When you face criminal allegations, you must consider how you want to defend yourself against the accusations. The outcomes may be more unpredictable once the case moves to trial, mainly if the prosecution makes a strong case.
Typically, before trial, the prosecution may offer you a plea deal. Before you accept or reject, however, there are considerations.
What is the strength of the prosecutor’s case?
In federal court, about 98% of criminal cases end with a plea deal. As you determine whether you should accept a plea deal yourself, think about the prosecution’s case. Most defendants have to weigh the amount of evidence the prosecutor has and decide whether it is substantial enough to lead to a conviction.
What are the potential penalties?
When you accept a plea deal, you may be able to mitigate harsher penalties. For example, if the prosecution has substantial evidence, you may be able to bring down the sentence via a plea deal. When you go to trial, you may have more uncertainty. Plea deals offer predictability compared to a trial verdict.
Do you have any collateral consequences?
There may be consequences aside from legal penalties that you have to consider. For example, rejecting a plea deal may impact immigration status or professional licenses. Assess the long-term repercussions before you decide whether to go to trial or to consider a plea deal.
When considering a plea deal, you have to consider all the nuances involved with your case and how a trial may affect you compared to the plea. Not all cases are the same and the right decision depends on your circumstances.