When there are chances of reduction in your sentence by agreeing to the crime, your criminal defense lawyer Knoxville, TN, may suggest you plead guilty rather than go to trial. Many criminal cases are solved by plea bargains, which saves a lot of time, money, and energy.
However, plea bargains have their own share of complexities and challenges, especially if you have no idea how they work. Therefore, we have gathered some commonly asked questions about plea bargaining and brought their answers to you.
Frequently asked plea bargaining questions
- When do you make a plea bargain?
Plea bargains cannot be made at any court hearing you want, and it is vital to know when one might be possible. A person can make a plea bargain during an arraignment. An arraignment typically takes place during the second court hearing, which occurs 30 days after the first one.
- Why do prosecutors offer plea bargains?
Prosecutors offer plea bargains to speed up the process of conviction and sentencing. Avoiding going to trial and the case ending quickly can ease the burdens of an already overworked court. Plea bargains can also save time and energy for more complex cases.
- Can you withdraw or amend your plea?
Generally no, but in rare cases, yes. You might be allowed to amend your plea if false promises or coercion were involved. Pleading guilty requires you to state a detailed account of what happened and the statement that you voluntarily and knowingly made the plea. Therefore, it can be difficult to withdraw your words later.
- Who gets to decide whether the defendant should plead guilty or not?
Nobody from the jury, law enforcement, or the other party has the right to decide a plea bargain but the defendant. A defendant may seek legal advice from their attorney regarding it, but the ultimate decision is in their hands.
- When is the right time for a plea bargain?
Plea bargains can be beneficial when the sentence and charges can be reduced. A plea bargain can also reduce legal costs, public embarrassment, and emotional stress that comes from getting involved in legal troubles.
- Do you lose any rights after making a plea bargain?
When you plead guilty, that is, accepting committing the crime, you lose the right to a jury trial and present any witnesses or evidence supporting your case. Moreover, once you have agreed to your offense, you may not be able to appeal your sentence.
Plea bargains have their own challenges, advantages, and disadvantages. If you are considering pleading guilty in court, you should not take this decision alone. Expert legal advice can help you learn more about the consequences of your plea and help you make an informed decision.