When you have pending criminal charges, you might have the option to either accept a plea bargain or go through a court trial. If you have this choice, you might wonder about the differences between these options. You might also wonder which one to choose. Before deciding, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer and thoroughly discuss your case with them. Your attorney can help you learn the differences between these options and which one is better for you to choose. Here are some of the differences between your options and tips for making the right choice.
The Differences Between a Plea Bargain and a Trial
Courts must settle all pending criminal charges, and they can settle them in two ways. The first option is through a plea bargain. A plea bargain is a deal the court offers a person when they face criminal charges. The plea requires the person to plead guilty to the charges, but the court might reduce the charges in exchange. The person generally receives a lesser charge and lighter punishment for the crime by accepting the plea bargain. The case is also settled faster because it does not require a lengthy trial.
A trial is a court hearing that requires the judge or jury to hear all the evidence of the case. The court then decides if the person is guilty or not guilty. A trial takes longer to settle, but it provides an opportunity to receive a "not guilty" sentence – something you cannot get if you accept a plea. There are some other differences between these options that your lawyer can explain to you.
How to Choose the Right One
Your lawyer can help you decide which to accept, and they will likely base this decision on several things. First, what does the evidence show? If there is a lot of evidence that proves you committed the crime, you should probably take the plea bargain. After all, the evidence will likely convict you of the crime. Secondly, how long do you want to deal with these charges? Do you want to drag it out or settle it right away? Finally, your lawyer can explain the risks with each option to help you choose.
Learning as much as you can about these options is a smart move, and discussing them with your attorney is also essential. Your criminal lawyer can give you the best advice for your situation.
To learn more, contact a resource like William G Mason Attorneys.