Colorado residents like you may wonder what your options are when you face the possibility of criminal conviction. This is a tricky matter. Even if it is your first time facing accusations in court, a conviction could be bad news for you.
As such, you may want to consider the possibility of a plea bargain. There are benefits and drawbacks to these tools, which see common use throughout all kinds of cases.
How do plea bargains work?
Cornell Law School defines a plea bargain as an agreement between prosecutors and defendants. In this agreement, an exchange takes place that benefits both parties. For example, the prosecutors may agree to reduce the number or severity of charges against you. They may also agree to petition the judge for a lenient sentence. In exchange, you submit a guilty plea for some or all charges you face.
The pros and cons
Benefits include saving time and money for all parties. You do not have to go through a rigorous and stressful trial if you submit a plea bargain. On top of that, you can avoid the possibility of facing much more severe sentences.
Downsides center around the fact that to make this bargain, you must proclaim your guilt. If you are innocent of the crime, this means you are accepting punishment for no reason. Also, the criminal conviction stays on your record. This makes it harder to find work or housing later in life.
For some, plea bargains are the best option. For others, you may want to go for something else. Regardless, it helps to talk it over with a legal professional and consider your options heavily.