A plea deal may sound convenient on the face of it. After all, you may serve a shorter sentence when you agree to a plea bargain. However, there is more to a plea deal than meets the eye.
When you get a deal to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence or no contest to a lesser charge, you should be careful before agreeing to it. Otherwise, you may regret rushing into a plea deal without the complete picture of the consequences, as explained below.
Accepting a plea deal means giving up some of your rights
You have a right to a jury trial, a right against self-incrimination and the right to question the prosecution’s witnesses. However, you waive these and other crucial constitutional rights when you accept a plea deal. There will be no trial and, consequently, no witnesses or a jury.
It will result in a conviction
Agreeing to a plea deal means admitting guilt and that you broke the law. Therefore, you will face legal penalties for the crime in question. Depending on the terms of your plea deal, you may go to jail or pay hefty fines.
You will have a criminal record
A conviction will result in a criminal record. It could impact the quality of your life in the future since it can be difficult to secure employment, housing or other opportunities due to your criminal history.
Are you facing criminal charges?
You will likely get a plea deal offer if you have been charged with a criminal offense. However, before accepting a plea deal, it is necessary to fully understand the terms and consequences and the long-lasting effects of pleading guilty or no contest.
It is also essential to seek professional legal counsel to advise you on the best course of action and help you make an informed decision.