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What Is a Plea Deal and Should I Take One?

Posted on in Criminal Defense

TX defense lawyerIf you have not had much involvement with the Texas criminal justice system, you may be unfamiliar with many of the terms used by court officials and lawyers. Plea deals or plea bargains are often misunderstood by individuals accused of criminal offenses. Many people are unsure of what a plea bargain is, let alone whether they should take the deal or not.

If you were charged with driving while intoxicated, drug possession or drug distribution, theft, assault, or another criminal offense, it is important to understand how a plea bargain may influence your case.

Plea Bargaining in Texas Criminal Cases

When someone is charged with a criminal offense, this means that he or she is formally accused of the offense by the state. In the United States, individuals are assumed to be innocent until the state proves that they are guilty.

Defendants are given a chance to enter a plea. They can plead guilty and admit that they committed the offense, or they can plead innocent. If a defendant pleads innocent, the case advances to trial. During a trial, the prosecution must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt” to convict them of the offense.

Before the trial, a plea deal or plea bargain may be offered by the prosecution to the defendant. Each plea deal is different, but in essence, the prosecution is offering the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty in exchange for some type of benefit. For example, the prosecution may offer a deal in which a defendant accused of a felony offense pleads guilty to a misdemeanor offense. Since the penalties associated with felonies are so much greater than penalties for misdemeanors, this is often an ideal option.

However, it is very important to understand that a plea deal is only in your best interests if you are likely to be found guilty during a trial. If you plead guilty, you give up your chance to have a criminal trial in which your lawyer can assert your innocence. If the evidence against you is weak, it may be best to deny the plea deal and go to trial. If you go to trial and are found not guilty, you may be able to avoid a criminal conviction.

Contact Our Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyers

The Frisco criminal defense lawyers at Law Offices of Biederman & Burleson P.L.L.C. have extensive experience in criminal cases. We can evaluate the specifics of your case and help you determine whether a plea deal would or would not be in your best interests. We are committed to providing trustworthy legal advice and aggressive advocacy for individuals accused of crimes in Texas. Call 469-333-3333 for a confidential consultation.

Source:

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/CR/htm/CR.1.htm

 

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