You are facing felony theft charges where a conviction could see you spending time in state prison. However, the prosecution offers you a chance to plead guilty, but to a lesser charge of misdemeanor theft. That would spare you time in jail. It sounds like a good deal, but you need to carefully consider your options before accepting.
The reality is that the justice system is overburdened, and most cases are resolved through plea bargains. Therefore, it is necessary to know what a plea deal entails and whether it’s the best for you.
Types of plea deals
In a plea deal, both the defendant and prosecution have to make concessions and find common ground in either the sentence, charges or the facts of the case. You can plead guilty to a less serious charge and have your sentence reduced. For instance, you can plead guilty to a manslaughter charge to avoid being charged with murder.
Additionally, you may admit certain facts of your case to prevent the prosecution from introducing other information as evidence, which can increase your sentence.
You have the final say
The decision to accept or reject a plea deal rests squarely on you. You may choose to go with the plea deal after carefully considering all aspects of your case. Is the evidence against you overwhelming? Do you have any reasonable defenses? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before accepting a plea deal.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider is this: A plea deal is the same as a conviction. If you go to trial, you could be acquitted. If you take a plea, you will have a criminal record forever.
Remember, you have a right to a fair trial. On top of that, it is not up to you to prove your innocence. The burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.