When Tennessee residents are charged with a crime, they are probably scrambling for options, particularly those who have never been arrested before and have no idea how the criminal justice system works. It is easy to have an initial impulse to do whatever it takes to put the case behind you. As a result, many defendants begin to think about a plea bargain as an option. But, is that always the best option? What do our readers need to know about plea bargains?
Plea bargain basics
The first thing that is important to understand about plea bargains is that these deals are rarely about “leniency” in exchange for a guilty plea. These deals are more like time-savers for the prosecution, who obviously do not have the time to take every criminal case they are assigned all the way to a trial. Yes, you may face less of a criminal sentence or a lesser charge if you accept a plea bargain, but you will also give up many important rights, such as the right to present your case in front of a jury of your peers.
Not only that, but pleading guilty also means that you, basically, agree to the prosecution’s version of the facts. You won’t get to present “your side” if you accept a plea bargain. And you will waive your right to appeal as well. In essence, plea bargaining is a rather quick way to start to put a criminal case behind you, but only if there don’t appear to be any other options.
Professional support can prove to be valuable
Plea bargains can be effective ways to end a criminal case if an analysis of the facts leads you to believe that a trial just won’t go your way. However, that is a big decision, and criminal defendants in Tennessee should be sure they have all of the right information to make such a decision. After all, pushing the case all the way to a jury trial might actually lead to the best possible scenario – a not guilty verdict.