If you’ve been accused of a state criminal offense in Connecticut, you’ve probably considered whether you should accept a plea bargain arrangement instead of taking your case to trial. Because each case is unique, there is no easy way to answer this question without fully evaluating every aspect of your case. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney can often negotiate a plea bargain with much more favorable terms than the deal you were offered when unrepresented by a lawyer. For these reasons, you should always consult with a lawyer before making the decision to accept any type of deal offered to you by the prosecution.
What Is a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain is a deal offered by the prosecution that effectively reduces the punishment of the defendant. In a plea bargain, the defendant pleads guilty—either to a lesser offense than the offense charged or in exchange for the prosecutor’s recommendation that the judge give a more lenient sentence. In many plea bargains, there are benefits to both parties—neither has to deal with the time and uncertainty of a trial, the prosecutor obtains a guilty plea, and the defendant receives a less severe sentence than would be imposed if he or she were to be found guilty after a trial.
Some Factors to Consider
Accepting a plea bargain is not a decision to be made lightly. Remember, if you accept a plea bargain, it will require you to plead guilty, which, in most cases, will result in a conviction being entered on your record. Here are some of the factors to consider before agreeing to a plea agreement with the prosecution.
The Offer Versus the Potential Consequences – Sometimes, the sentence associated with a plea bargain is so lenient when compared to the potential sentence you would face at trial that there is almost no question as to whether you should accept it. For example, if you’re facing one year in jail if you go to trial, versus a period of unsupervised probation if you take the plea deal, it is likely that taking the plea deal would be in your best interest.
The Ramifications of a Guilty Plea – Sometimes, there are circumstances that make a plea deal unacceptable. For example, if a guilty plea would result in deportation or the loss of child custody, many defendants are willing to “roll the dice” and take their chances at trial.
The Strength of the Prosecution’s Case – Prosecutors are human beings and sometimes let their personal beliefs cloud their judgment. Because of this, there are cases in which a prosecutor is determined to proceed with a weak case. When you consult with a lawyer, he or she will evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s case against you and let you know whether you have a strong chance of obtaining an acquittal.
Call Koffsky & Felsen, LLC Today to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Connecticut Criminal Defense Attorney
When you have a pending criminal case in Connecticut, the stakes are high. The manner in which your case is resolved could have an impact on your personal, professional, and academic life for years. It could also cause the loss of your freedom. As a result, it’s imperative that you fully understand the implications of any decisions that you make regarding your case—whether that means taking a plea deal or taking your case to trial.
At Koffsky & Felsen, LLC, we take the time to educate our clients about the legal process and advise them regarding all possible outcomes. We are committing to guiding you through your case to make sure that it’s resolved as favorably as possible. To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, call our office today at 203-327-1500 or send us an email through our online contact form.