Prosecutors love plea deals. They use them to secure yet another conviction without going through the hard work of proving someone’s guilt in court. What’s more, plea deals guarantee them a win, and they know a jury might not.
Things are not so clear-cut if you are on the other side of a case. While a plea deal might be your best option if you are accused of a white-collar crime, oftentimes it might not be. Here are some things to consider before accepting or rejecting a deal.
1. Are you guilty?
If you knew what you were doing was against the law, then maybe you already accepted the possibility of having to deal with consequences if you got caught. Yet, if you are not guilty, you might want to protect your good name at all costs.
2. Can the prosecution prove you are guilty?
Maybe you did break the law, and maybe the prosecution knows that. That does not guarantee that they can prove it in court. Sometimes prosecutors fail to get a conviction because they lack necessary evidence.
3. Can you beat the charges on a technicality?
Sometimes all the evidence in the world is not enough to secure a conviction because the police or someone else involved in the investigation and prosecution made mistakes that breached your rights. If so, a judge may have little choice but to dismiss the case.
4. Is the plea deal reasonable?
Don’t believe a prosecutor when they tell you what the consequences of not accepting a plea deal will be. They want to scare you into accepting it. If you do end up accepting one, you should likely allow your lawyer to try to bargain it down first.
Getting legal help will be crucial to make the right decisions if you face criminal charges. Simply accepting a deal so that you can move forward is not a good idea if you and a lawyer haven’t considered the context of that deal carefully.