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Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them

Updated: May 21, 2024 @ 11:02 pm

Less than 1 minute Reading Time: Minutes

During the course of business at Tad Nelson & Associates, our clients have asked or suggested a plea bargain on numerous occasions. In some instances, it’s a great idea. But most times, it’s best to continue to push for a pre-trial dismissal.

In this article, we’ll review the concept of plea bargains to help our clients and readers get a better understanding of the practice.

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If you’re facing criminal charges in Galveston for Driving While Intoxicated or another serious criminal offense, contact our law office for help. We can be reached at 409-904-0075. Schedule your 100% free consultation with Tad & Amber today.

Plea Bargains: An Overview

A plea bargain is an agreement between a defendant and the prosecutor where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. This could be a reduction in charges, a recommendation for a lighter sentence, or the dismissal of other charges.

In any case, the decision on whether to go this route will be related to the specifics of your case. More on that later.

Plea Bargains & The Law

Plea deals are recognized by state & federal law.

Per the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, plea bargains must be presented to and accepted by the court before they’re binding. Specifically, Article 26.13 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that the court must admonish the defendant about the consequences of the plea. They must also ensure that the agreement is entered voluntarily and knowingly.

Furthermore, the Constitution of the United States, through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, ensures that any plea must be entered voluntarily and with an understanding of the charges and consequences.

When to Consider a Plea Bargain

Galveston Plea Agreement Lawyer

Deciding whether to engage in plea negotiations is a critical decision point in any criminal case. Factors that should influence this decision include:

  1. Strength of the Evidence: If the evidence against you is overwhelming, a plea bargain is usually the best idea. It might offer a more favorable outcome than a trial conviction.
  2. Potential Sentences: By comparing the potential sentences if convicted at trial versus the plea deal offered, you can make a decision on how to handle the risk. For instance, a plea bargain might reduce a potential 20-year sentence to a 5-year term. Again, this decision could be made with prudent legal counsel.
  3. Case Complexity: In complex cases involving multiple charges, plea bargains can simplify the legal proceedings and lead to a quicker resolution.
  4. Risk Aversion: Some defendants may prefer the certainty of a plea bargain over the uncertainty of a trial verdict. In our experience as defense lawyers, we’ve found that if the state is willing to enter plea negotiations, they probably have a weak case.

Benefits of Plea Bargains

Plea bargains offer several advantages for the defendant and the judicial system.

For defendants, the benefit is often reduced charges or sentencing. Additionally, plea bargains can expedite the resolution of a case. This allows people to move forward with their lives more quickly.

For the judicial system, plea bargains help manage caseloads. The state will often use plea bargains to reduce the burden on courts so they can allocate resources to other cases.

Potential Drawbacks of Plea Deals

Plea agreements aren’t without downsides.

One of the primary criticisms of plea agreements is they can pressure innocent defendants into pleading guilty to avoid the risk of a harsher sentence at trial.

Additionally, by agreeing to a plea deal, you waive your right to a trial, which eliminates your opportunity to be acquitted by a jury of your peers. Moreover, a guilty plea means a criminal record. You already know that this can have a long-term negative impact on your options in life.

Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyers Matter!

As seasoned criminal defense attorneys, our job is to give you the best strategic advice whenever a plea deal becomes a topic.

Whether or not we’ll even consider pleading out involves a thorough analysis of the evidence, the charges, and a strict weighing of the pros and cons of accepting the plea.

Attorneys Tad Nelson and Amber Spurlock at Tad Nelson & Associates have extensive experience with tough situations. In tough situations, we give our clients the information they’ll need to make well-informed decisions.

Real-World Scenarios

Consider a case where a defendant is charged with multiple counts of drug possession with intent to distribute.

If the evidence includes incontrovertible video surveillance and substantial quantities of drugs, the likelihood of a trial conviction is high. In damning scenarios, a plea agreement that reduces the charges could significantly lower the penalty.

In another example, a defendant charged with aggravated robbery might face a potential sentence of 15 years to life if convicted at trial. However, through skillful negotiation, our defense attorneys could secure a plea deal for a reduced charge of robbery with a sentence of 5 to 10 years. Heck, might even get out in 2.

Facing Criminal Charges in Galveston?

Contact Galveston Criminal Defense Lawyer Tad Nelson Today!

Galveston DWI Lawyer Tad Nelson

At Tad Nelson & Associates, we pride ourselves on providing thorough, strategic, and compassionate legal representation to our clients.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges in Texas, contact us at 409-904-0075 for a confidential consultation. Our experienced legal team is here to help you.

Meet with us. Schedule your free case review today.

Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them

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Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them
Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them
Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them
Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them
Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them
Plea Bargains: When and Why to Consider Them