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When to Consider a Plea Bargain

 Posted on September 14, 2022 in Criminal Defense

Chicago criminal defense lawyerEveryone wants their case to be dismissed, or at least to be acquitted at trial. In many cases, getting off the hook completely is entirely possible. If the evidence is not so strong, or the police have violated your rights in a serious way, then hoping for dismissal or acquittal is not unreasonable at all. However, courts do not just dismiss cases once criminal charges have been filed without a very good reason. In some cases, taking a plea bargain may be the best strategy for minimizing the impact the charges could have on your life. Before you consider changing your plea or taking any other offer made by the prosecution, it is crucial to discuss your options with an experienced attorney. 

Situations in Which Taking a Plea Bargain May Make Sense

One of the big risks of going to trial is that if you are convicted at trial instead of pleading guilty to a lesser offense, you may face harsher sentencing for a more serious crime. Some factors that may push you and your lawyer toward accepting a plea bargain include: 

  • Avoiding a felony - Being a felon can mess up the rest of your life in a way that having a misdemeanor would not. If your original charge is a felony offense, and you are offered a plea bargain that would reduce it to a misdemeanor only, it may be better to play it safe. 

  • Strong evidence - In some cases, the evidence is so strong (and admissible) that a conviction would be nearly impossible to avoid. There is a video of you hitting someone or stealing an item off a porch. You admitted to the police that you drank eight beers before driving. If the evidence against you is so compelling that just about any judge or jury would convict you, it may be better to just plead guilty to a lesser offense. 

  • Catastrophic original charge - If the original charge is an extreme felony like rape or homicide, the risk of going to trial may be intolerable to you. It may be safer to take reduced charges while they are offered rather than running the risk of conviction and decades in prison. 

  • Diversion - In some cases, especially if this is your first charge, you may be able to take a plea deal and enter a diversion program. If you successfully complete certain diversion programs, you could get your case dismissed. This may be the most secure path to avoiding conviction, even if it means you have to jump through some hoops. 

Your attorney can give you more specific advice that pertains to your own case. You always have the final say on whether you agree to a plea bargain. 

Call a Cook County Criminal Defense Lawyer

Luisi Legal Group utilizes a variety of criminal defense strategies, often including plea bargaining. Our experienced Chicago criminal defense attorneys will work with you to fight for the best possible outcome for your case. Call 773-276-5541 for a free consultation. 

Source: https://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/law_related_education_network/how_courts_work/pleabargaining/

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