If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor, you have the option of either taking your case to trial or accepting a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a crime in return of a lighter punishment. A plea deal can be arranged in a matter of minutes while a trial can take weeks or months. The criminal lawyers at [law firm name] discuss some of the benefits of accepting a plea bargain for a misdemeanor.
It’s Much Quicker
Facing criminal charges can be incredibly stressful, so you naturally want to get the process over with as quickly as possible. If you take a plea bargain, you can resolve the matter right away and move on with the rest of your life. However, if you decide to take your case to trial, you may have to wait months or even over a year to get a trial date.
You’ll Have Less Serious Offenses on Your Record
If you agree to plead guilty, the prosecutor may reduce your charges so that it doesn’t look as bad on your record. For example, if you were charged with felony DUI and it was your first offense, the prosecutor may agree to reduce it to a misdemeanor reckless driving conviction. Reckless driving doesn’t look as bad on your record as a DUI does. Without a felony on your record, you may have an easier time finding employment, a place to live and won’t be forced to forfeit any professional licenses.
It’s Less Costly
If you have a private lawyer, going to trial can get very expensive. It takes a lot of time and resources to prepare for a trial, so lawyers can charge thousands of dollars for it. If you decide to take a plea bargain, it will be much less expensive.
Juries Can Be Unpredictable
By going to trial, you are allowing a jury to decide your fate. No matter how strong you think your defense is, you never know who the jury will side with. If they find you guilty, you may have to spend time in jail and deal with other serious consequences.
You Can Avoid Publicity
If you depend on your reputation in your community to make a living, going to trial may hurt you. A trial is public and all the members of the community may be made aware of it. This could cause embarrassment for you and your family members. If you take a plea bargain, you can keep your name out of the news.
If you were charged with a misdemeanor, you should consult with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. They understand how nerve-wracking it can be to deal with a criminal charge and want to help you through this process. Call today to set up a consultation.