Plea Bargains: Pros, Cons, and Considerations for Defendants

Criminal Defense
By Goodwin Como, P.C.

When you have been charged with a crime, you will be faced with the option of entering into a plea bargain or proceeding to trial. Deciding which path is best can be confusing and often depends on the facts of your particular case. However, certain pros, cons, and considerations are generally universal when facing criminal charges in Pennsylvania.

Advantages of Plea Bargains for Defendants

There are several advantages of plea bargains for defendants. First, entering into a plea bargain takes away the stress and uncertainty of a trial. It is also a less expensive option than going to trial, as mounting a defense can be extremely expensive. Finally, a plea bargain is a much more expeditious process than a trial, and many defendants want the process to be over as quickly as possible so they can move on with their lives. In exchange for entering the plea bargain, most defendants will receive a lighter sentence than they would receive should they lose at trial. This is a huge motivator for many defendants who choose to proceed to trial or enter into a plea agreement.

Disadvantages of Plea Bargains for Defendants

Prosecutors are more likely to offer a plea bargain when they are aware that there is a problem in their case. Accepting the plea bargain means that the defense gives up the opportunity to explore these weaknesses and possibly receive a not-guilty verdict.

When a defendant is innocent, entering into a plea bargain prevents them from receiving the vindication of receiving a verdict of not guilty. Also, a person that pleads guilty often forfeits the right to appeal their sentence or conviction later.

Plea Bargain Considerations for Defendants

Defendants should carefully consider all the options available before deciding whether it is in their best interest to enter into a plea agreement or proceed to trial. Matters that should be considered are listed below.

Strength of Case of Prosecution

One of the main matters to consider is the strength of the prosecution’s case. How much evidence do they have? How believable are their witnesses? How likely will the defendant be found guilty if the case proceeds to trial? An experienced criminal attorney can help with this determination.

Length of Incarceration or Supervision

Defendants need to consider the length of incarceration or supervision offered in the plea deal versus the length of incarceration or supervision they would serve if found guilty. Whether or not they have a prior criminal record and the extent thereof will have a huge bearing on the amount of time received.

Consult With A Criminal Defense Attorney at Goodwin Como, P.C.

If you are facing criminal charges, you need representation you can count on. At Goodwin Como, P.C., our lawyers can provide a highly effective criminal defense for several different charges. Contact our firm today by calling 724-438-1616 or via our contact page.