The Role Of A Defense Attorney In Plea Bargaining

Plea Bargaining

What is Plea Bargaining?

If you have been charged with a crime in Florida, you will most likely be offered a plea deal from the prosecution. In this situation, the prosecution will convey to you or your attorney what they would be willing to accept as a penalty to resolve your case, short of going to trial. Every plea offer is different, and the particular terms may vary significantly based on the facts, evidence, presence, or lack of criminal history, and sometimes, the wishes of the alleged victim.

What is the Role of Defense Counsel in Plea Bargaining?

A significant way that a defense attorney can assist you is by negotiating with the prosecution on your behalf. Through this negotiation process, the prosecution may agree to drop or reduce some charges or may agree to more favorable terms.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Plea Bargaining?

There are many advantages to entering into a plea agreement. One of the primary advantages is that it minimizes the risk that a defendant faces by ensuring that he or she does not receive the maximum sentence or one that he or she cannot handle. Another advantage is that it provides certainty, which can remove significant stress. Entering into a plea deal may also result in a quicker resolution of a case and can be less expensive than if a defendant were to proceed to trial.

The disadvantages of plea bargaining largely center around the significant rights and opportunities that a defendant gives up. By resolving the case short of going to trial, a defendant gives up the right to fight the charges. A defendant also gives up most of his or her rights to appeal. While there are a few exceptions, Florida’s Rules of Appellate Procedure state that a defendant generally may not appeal a conviction based on a guilty plea. Other disadvantages relate to the collateral consequences that a criminal conviction may cause. Depending on the nature of the conviction, the consequences can include, but are not limited to, the loss of the right to vote, the loss of professional licenses or certifications, the loss of government benefits, driver’s license implications, and exposure to civil liability.

Before accepting a plea deal, it is important to consider both the known and potential benefits as well as the known and potential consequences that may stem from accepting the offer. At Mowrey Law Firm, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can explain the pros and cons and help you make an informed decision.

To learn more about your rights and options when you’re facing criminal charges, call 904-824-7799 to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys.

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