A person who is facing criminal charges often wants to get their case resolved as quickly as possible. They may also want to know what type of sentence they’re going to have to deal with.

For defendants who know that they committed the crime at the heart of the matter, a plea deal might be worth considering. As part of the agreement, the defendant will likely have to plead either guilty or no contest to the charges that are part of the deal that is made with the prosecution.

Charge negotiations

One of the points that’s sometimes up for negotiation is the charge the defendant is facing. This can sometimes be negotiated to one that’s not as serious. This may lead to a lighter sentence and fewer collateral consequences down the road.

Sentence negotiations

Another point that’s often negotiable is the sentence the person is going to receive. The agreed upon sentence must be in line with any applicable sentencing guidelines or minimum sentence requirements. It may include time probation, incarceration, fines, community service or alternative sentencing programs.

Considerations for plea deals

Before entering into a plea deal, there are specific points that defendants need to consider. One of these is that the sentence is a recommendation for the court. The judge has to agree to the terms that are presented.

The judge will take steps to ensure the defendant understands the agreement. All plea deals must be fully voluntary, so the court can throw it out if there’s any reason to believe that it’s not sufficient or that the defendant isn’t agreeing voluntarily.

Another consideration is that the defendant typically can’t appeal a plea deal. This means they must ensure they’re completely comfortable with the deal as it is presented to the court.

There are several things that can impact negotiations for a plea deal. Having a defense attorney who can work with the prosecution effectively, therefore, is critical in these cases. Any defendant who’s considering a plea deal should ensure they understand exactly how it will impact them now and into the future before accepting or rejecting it.