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What can a plea deal accomplish?

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | DUI

A felony conviction can have a much more significant effect on your life than a misdemeanor conviction. Aside from the differences in prison time and other penalties, it can be harder to get a job and more difficult to get the charge expunged from your record after you’ve served your time for a felony than for a misdemeanor. Some types of crimes carry very specific consequences – like going on a sex offender registry – that can stigmatize someone and their family for the rest of their lives.

We should note here that, certainly, if you’ve been charged with a crime you didn’t commit, you deserve a vigorous defense. However, if that’s not the case, it can be wise to seek a plea deal.

Prosecutors are generally open to plea negotiations. That’s how the vast majority of criminal cases play out. The court system simply isn’t equipped to hold trials for everyone charged with a crime. Prosecutors would generally rather chalk up a win and show victims there have been some consequences for the defendant, even if it’s not the maximum penalty they might like to see. That’s where getting a felony reduced to a misdemeanor comes in.

What is typically up for negotiation?

The two most common areas for plea negotiations are the charge and the sentence. A reduced charge typically comes with a shorter sentence or perhaps even home confinement, probation or time served. Even getting a DUI charge reduced to reckless driving can make a difference in the consequences to a person’s life.

Plea bargaining is never something you should try to do on your own. It may look fast and easy on Law & Order and other TV shows, but it requires skill, experience and knowledge of the law. It’s also crucial to determine whether negotiating a plea is even the best decision for your case.