If you are facing criminal charges, there is a good chance a prosecutor may offer you a plea deal. After all, according to reporting from KSMU, roughly 95% of criminal prosecutions in the U.S. end with guilty pleas instead of judge or jury verdicts.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be advisable to negotiate a deal with prosecutors. Still, before you agree to any plea deal, you must be sure you are ready to do so. Asking yourself some basic questions may help you make an informed decision.
Did you commit the crime?
Accepting a prosecutor’s plea deal usually means admitting guilt. This may give you a criminal record for the rest of your life. Put simply, if you did not commit the crime, you may not want to deal with the life consequences that come with saying you did.
Is there a reasonable defense?
Even if you are guilty of the crime, you may have a reasonable defense. If you believe you can convince a judge or jury to acquit you, accepting a plea deal may be premature. Of course, you probably want to discuss possible defenses with an experienced defense attorney to better understand your odds of success.
Do you understand the deal?
You must plead guilty knowingly. This means you understand what the prosecutor’s deal says. It also means you know about the consequences of your plea. These may include fines, jail time or even deportation from the U.S.
Ultimately, if you have questions about any part of the deal or what it means for you, you must find answers to them before you take it.