Criminal trials are often lengthy, complicated processes. There are many rules and regulations that must be followed during criminal trials. Those rules vary depending on which state you are being tried in and whether or not you are being tried in federal court or state court. The infamous OJ Simpson trial lasted for 11 months before a decision was reached, but other trials have taken years to conclude, costing millions of dollars. One of the solutions prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys have strategically used to help reduce the time of criminal trials is by offering plea bargains. According to the United States Bureau of Justice, around 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases result in a plea bargain.
What is a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain is an agreement made between the defendant (you) and the prosecutor (the lawyer representing the local, state, or federal government). The agreement involves you entering a guilty plea to some or all of the charges that are being brought against you, usually in exchange for a more lenient sentence than would be applied following a finding of guilt at trial. Rather than going to trial to determine whether or not you are guilty, you skip that step and plead guilty. A plea bargain might involve reducing the severity of the charges against a person, reducing the number of charges against a person, reducing the severity of the sentence, or a combination of the three.
Benefits of Plea Bargains
Plea bargains have taken root in the American criminal justice system and have benefitted many, though they are thought to be controversial. Benefits of plea bargains may include:
- A reduction in the uncertainty of a defendant’s outcome;
- A reduction in the amount of time it takes to complete the criminal justice process;
- A reduction in the costs associated with a criminal trial; and
- The opportunity for defendants to obtain a more lenient sentence than if they went to trial.
On the other hand, there is concern that the pressure to accept a plea bargain could result in an innocent person pleading guilty to a crime that he or she did not actually commit.
Consult With a Knowledgeable Will County Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
When you are facing criminal charges, it can be a scary experience. There is much uncertainty when you find yourself at odds with the law. At the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba, P.C., we can help you figure out what your best course of action would be for any criminal charge you may be facing. Jack Zaremba is a former Will County prosecutor, so he has extensive knowledge of the Illinois criminal justice system and can help you negotiate a plea bargain, if appropriate. To schedule a free consultation, call our office today at 815-740-4025 Today.