What is a Plea Bargain?
by Lewis & Laws
What is a Plea Bargain?
If you find yourself facing a criminal charge in Washington, you may hear the words "plea bargain" being used when discussing your case. It is essential to understand what a plea bargain is and how it may affect your future. Before you agree to any deal, and before you talk to the prosecutors, it is crucial to call an experienced Seattle criminal defense lawyer. You have a right to legal representation after an arrest. Your lawyer can protect your constitutional rights and your freedom every step of the way.
Understanding Plea Bargains
When a Washington State criminal prosecutor offers you a plea bargain, they are essentially asking you to plead guilty or "no contest" to the charges filed against you. This can have irreparable consequences and should not be taken lightly. For this reason, it is imperative that you have a lawyer on your side to advise you of your best options.
A guilty plea must be a voluntary plea in the state of Washington. All defendants must understand the terms and consequences they face if they decide to plead guilty to the charges filed against them. When the prosecution offers a plea bargain, a defendant has a right to sign the deal or refuse it.
Plea bargains help move criminal cases through the court system more rapidly. In fact, more than ninety percent of all criminal convictions are the result of plea deals.
Why Would Anyone Want to Plead Guilty?
Most plea bargains are made because they offer benefits, most notably a lesser sentence or a lesser criminal charge. Defendants facing multiple charges may decide to plead guilty to one if all other charges are dismissed. Or they may plead guilty to a lesser charge if they can get the original charge dismissed.
A plea deal may be best for someone facing a lengthy prison term or multiple, serious charges. It can also be best when there is overwhelming evidence against them and a conviction in court seems likely.
Like most negotiations, your attorney can best handle plea bargains on your behalf. Your attorney will advocate for you and your future and obtain the best deal they can for you. However, it is up to you whether you choose to take it or refuse the deal.
For many individuals charged with crimes, a plea deal means that they know upfront what consequences and charges they face. When a criminal case goes to trial, juries are often unpredictable and judges may impose longer sentences. A plea deal allows the defendant to influence their future and over the consequences they face.
Pleading “No Contest”
When you plead "no contest" you are essentially saying that you are not guilty but will no longer dispute or fight a conviction. This means that you will still face the consequences. However, without an admission of guilt, your civil liability may be reduced. Many individuals choose to plead "no contest" to help them avoid potential or escape liability should a civil lawsuit arise.
Your attorney will need to examine your case's details and your arrest to determine the best course of legal action. In some cases, it may be more advantageous to plead "no contest" to the charges.
Contact Our Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you are facing a criminal charge, we can help. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers will work tirelessly to protect your rights at every turn. We know the prosecutors and courts in Seattle and surrounding areas. We use this knowledge to negotiate the best deals for our clients. Not only that, but we build a defense that is designed to get the charges reduced or even dismissed. If a plea deal is imminent, we can advise you of your rights and help you negotiate the best deal.
At Lewis & Laws, PLLC, we have defended clients in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, Kirkland, and throughout the state of Washington. Contact us today at 206.209.0608 or fill out our confidential contact form. Call us today!