What is a plea bargain?



    attorney with prosecutor and defendant

    When facing a criminal trial, the state may have overwhelming evidence against you which may make you feel hopeless as you will likely be subjected to harsh penalties. However, depending on the crime committed, the prosecution may offer you a plea deal. Essentially, a plea bargain is an agreement between you and the prosecutor that results in reduced charges or a more lenient sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Although there are several benefits to accepting a plea bargain, depending on the specific circumstances of your case, you may be better off fighting the charges during a trial. You should not accept a plea bargain without first speaking with one of our experienced Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorneys who can help you understand what available options may be in your best interest. 

    How does a plea bargain work?

    When charged with a crime, the prosecution may offer you a plea bargain in exchange for pleading guilty to some or all of the charges brought against you. A plea deal is typically offered as a means of avoiding trial since the prosecutor cannot guarantee a conviction. As per this type of agreement, you will receive reduced charges or a lesser sentence. However, you must enter a guilty plea in open court. Although you may be offered a plea bargain, you do not have to accept it. Before accepting a plea deal, you should first examine all of the facts and available options with your criminal defense attorney as they can help you determine if accepting this deal is in your best interest. Your defense attorney may be able to negotiate the terms of the agreement. However, it is imperative to understand that the judge does not have to follow the prosecution’s recommendation. In some cases, the plea bargain offered may be subject to court approval. Moreover, the following are different types of plea bargains you may be offered:

    • Charge bargaining. This type of agreement drops the most serious charge if you plead guilty to a less serious crime than the original.
    • Count bargaining. This deal involves pleading guilty to one or more of the charges in exchange for the prosecution dropping the other charges brought against you.
    • Sentence bargaining. This deal allows you to enter a guilty plea for a lighter sentence.
    • Fact bargaining. This type of deal involves pleading guilty based on certain facts that prove your guilt and the prosecution will not present these facts in court.

    If you are facing a criminal trial, it is critical to retain the legal services of a determined Nassau County criminal defense attorney. You should not accept a plea bargain until you’ve accessed all facts and examined all available options to ensure accepting a plea deal is in your best interest. Our firm is prepared to fight on your behalf to achieve a favorable outcome.

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