If you're facing a criminal conviction but have been offered the opportunity to take a plea deal, you may be very tempted by the idea. It's important, however, to first ensure that you have a good understanding of plea bargains. Below are three common myths about plea deals and the facts behind them.
Myth #1: If You're Innocent, You Shouldn't Accept a Plea Deal
Fact: Unfortunately, it does happen on occasion that innocent people are convicted of crimes. If your attorney advises you to take the plea deal, it's probably best to take their advice.
If there's sufficient evidence to support a conviction, even if you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it's usually best to avoid the trial (where the jury will decide your fate) and instead take the plea deal offered to you by the prosecution. While it still seems unfair to plead guilty to a crime you didn't commit, it may be the best option available to you. To learn more about your options, speak with your criminal defense attorney.
Myth #2: If You Take a Plea Deal, You Won't Have to Do Time in Jail
Fact: The plea deal offered to you will depend entirely on the crime you're being charged with. You may still be required to do time in jail if the crime calls for it, but your sentence may be reduced.
If you're being charged with assault, for example, and you already have a criminal record, you may be facing the maximum jail sentence, which varies by state. The prosecution, however, may offer you a plea deal that includes serving only the minimum required sentence if you agree to attend an anger management course. So, while you'll still be spending some time in jail, the plea deal offers you the chance to spend less time as long as you plead guilty and meet all other requirements of the plea bargain.
Myth #3: Once You Accept a Plea Deal, You Cannot Change Your Mind
Fact: If you feel that you accepted the terms of the plea deal without thinking it through entirely, you may be able to withdraw your guilty plea and go on to trial.
The easiest time in which to change your mind is before the judge has sentenced you. Once sentencing has occurred, a plea deal may be able to be withdrawn, but usually only under certain circumstances, such as new evidence coming to light that proves your innocence. To avoid going through the struggle of withdrawing a plea deal, it's better to sit down with your attorney and get a proper idea of your options. A plea bargain should not be taken without serious consideration.
To learn more about plea deals and how they may be able to help your case, consult with your criminal defense attorney or visit a website like http://www.hartlawofficespc.net.