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James N. Papirmeister, P.C.

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Why do defendants accept plea bargains?


Maryland residents may be aware of that it is their right to be considered innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. This is why many who are facing criminal charges may decide to put their case in front of the legal system and protect their rights in that manner. However, there are some instances in which this may not always be the best option and it may be possible to protect and advance one's rights in another manner.

In reality, most criminal prosecutions in America do not end up in the criminal justice system-they are resolved through plea bargains. An agreement between the defendant and prosecutor, a plea bargain requires that the defendant plead guilty to a lesser charge, some of the charges or even all of the charges in exchange for some concessions from the prosecutors. Different types of plea bargains will be discussed in upcoming blogs on this space.

The question that arises is why would anyone choose a plea bargain over going through the criminal justice system? The biggest reason is because trials can often lead to anxiety and uncertainty-plea bargains provide certainty that is not immediately available through a trial. It can also help those facing criminal charges for violent crimes avoid jail time and the consequences associated with having that on one's record. Depending on the terms of the bargain, sentences and charges can be reduced, once again allowing the defendant to keep certain charges off their record. Lastly, the issue is resolved quickly, rather than linger on through various phases of the criminal system.

Having said all this, a plea negotiation is not the answer for everyone, as many people are ready and willing to fight aggressively to protect their rights. Others may not be able to or the case doesn't warrant it. Everyone's situation is unique and it might be beneficial to consult an experienced attorney for guidance regarding a criminal defense.

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