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What are the benefits and drawbacks of a plea bargain?

On Behalf of | Oct 22, 2020 | Criminal Law |

In Texas, there are harsh penalties for many crimes. Depending on the accusation you face, you might be looking at time behind bars. You could also face large fines, probation, suspension of licenses and more.

This is why plea bargains exist. If you are up against tough charges, the prosecutors may offer you plea bargains as an option. There are potential downsides to these bargains, but the benefits may outweigh them depending on your situation.

What is a plea bargain?

Cornell Law School defines plea bargains as an agreement between prosecutors and defendants. In this arrangement, you as the defendant agree to plead guilty to some or all of the charges. In exchange, the prosecutors typically make concessions.

Common concessions include reducing the number of charges or the severity of the charges. This also lowers the severity of the penalty you may face. In some cases, the prosecutors will even recommend on your behalf that you receive a reduced sentence.

Pros and cons of plea bargains

The biggest benefit to you is the fact that you do not have to go through the harrowing ordeal of a full public trial. You do not have to risk facing steeper penalties. It is particularly beneficial if you feel like a conviction may be an inevitability rather than a possibility.

The biggest downside is the fact that you have to officially admit guilt. Unless you admit a plea of no contest, you are claiming responsibility for the crime of which you were accused. Even if this cuts down your potential penalty, it will remain on your record. This means it can impact your employment, housing and much more for many years.