When Maryland residents face allegations of criminal conduct, they are smart to consider all of their options. Various criminal charges will leave defendants with different options. For instance, the right approach to a drug crime might not be the same as the right approach to a violent crime charge. But, in any case, there will likely come a point when it is time to consider the pros and cons of negotiating a plea deal and pleading guilty. So, how should you approach this stage of your criminal case?
First, it is important to understand that the prosecution is under no obligation to “broker a deal” with a criminal defendant. The prosecution doesn’t have to make any kind of offer. But, the reality of today’s criminal justice system usually dictates that they do so. Why? Well, because it would be too much of a burden on the local government to prosecute every case all the way through to a jury trial. The prosecution simply doesn’t have the resources.
But, that doesn’t mean that every criminal defendant will get a “sweetheart” deal just to make their case go away. In fact, the key part of most cases – and, as a result, the relative leniency of a plea offer – will likely come down to the evidence in the case.
So, before Maryland residents approach the plea negotiations stage of their criminal case, they need to take stock of the evidence. Is it overwhelming? Does the chance of getting a not guilty verdict at trial look slim? Or, is the evidence weak? Were there procedural missteps by the police that could be exploited? All of these factors need to be considered in the plea negotiation process.
Source: FindLaw, “Plea Bargains Overview,” accessed September 18, 2017