When are Plea Deals in California Not in Your Best Interest?
Over 90% of all criminal cases brought in California end in a plea deal between the prosecution and the defense. A plea deal can benefit the state, the defendant, and the court in many situations; however, a plea deal may not always be in a defendant’s best interest. At The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates, our experienced criminal defense lawyers always have your best interests in mind during a criminal case. To learn more about your legal options, call or contact our offices in the Los Angeles area today to schedule a case consultation.
What is a Plea Deal?
A plea deal is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense in a criminal case to end the proceeding with a plea of guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) in exchange for a reduced sentence or lesser charges. When a defendant accepts a plea deal, they give up their constitutional right to a trial, admit their guilt in the offense, and accept a criminal conviction for the crime. Instead of a trial, the case goes immediately to the sentencing phase, which is often dictated per the terms of the plea agreement in regards to charge or sentence.
There are potential benefits to a plea deal in a criminal case. If the prosecution has a strong case against a defendant, a plea deal may result in lesser charges or sentencing than if they were convicted at trial. Prosecutors also benefit from plea deals, as it reduces the number of active cases, and courts benefit from plea deals by reducing the number of trials on the docket.
When a Plea Deal is Not in Your Best Interest
However, there are situations where a plea deal is not in the best interest of a defendant in a criminal case. Prosecutors will often offer a plea deal for reduced charges or sentencing if they believe that they have a weak case. Rather than admit that there are weaknesses in their case, the state will often try and convince a defendant to take a favorable plea deal instead of going to trial. Some of the most common weaknesses in a criminal case include the following:
- Witness inconsistencies,
- Refusal of witnesses to testify,
- Lack of DNA evidence,
- Lost or mishandled evidence,
- Police or prosecutor misconduct, and
- Compelling defense of the crime
An experienced California criminal defense attorney understands when the prosecution has a weak criminal case and can advise you on when a plea deal may not be in your best interest after an arrest.
Call or Contact Us Today
Have you or a loved one been arrested and charged with a crime in the Los Angeles area? If so, the experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers at The Law Offices of Omar Gastelum and Associates are here to help. Call the office or contact us today to schedule an evaluation of your case now to learn more about your legal options.