If you face criminal charges, you might assume your case will go to trial. That’s what countless TV law shows would have you believe. You have a right to a trial, but most people never exercise that right.
Over 95% of all cases are settled via plea bargain, so why should yours differ? Because it might be to your advantage not to accept one. Here is why:
Prosecutors tend to exaggerate
Think of a plea bargain as a threat. The prosecutor needs to threaten you with something that sounds so awful that you do what they want (plead guilty).
The prosecutor does not control what sentence a judge might decide to hand down if you went to trial and they did find you guilty. They can certainly push a judge to issue a harsher sentence, but it is the judge’s decision.
So, whatever a prosecutor tells you will happen if you refuse to accept the plea deal might not happen at all.
A jury might not find you guilty
If you make a plea deal, you plead guilty. Why do that if you are not, or if there is a chance that a jury might decide you are not? You are accepting a criminal record that will affect you for the rest of your life when maybe you could avoid that. Why go to prison, pay fines or accept other punishments if there is a chance to avoid them?
Only you can make the final decision as to whether a plea deal is in your best interests or not. To do so, you need experienced legal help to understand more about the reality of your prospects if facing criminal charges.