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What is a Plea Bargain?

When you have committed a crime and go through the proceedings of your criminal case in Maryland, you will need to respond to the crimes you are being charged with in court. When you work with an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Towson, MD, your chances of a favorable outcome are much higher than if you go at it alone. Let’s learn a bit about plea bargaining and why it might be a good idea for you in your criminal case.

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What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea by itself is a formal statement that admits guilt or innocence in response to a criminal charge. If a defendant submits a plea of “not guilty”, the case will go to trial, a process that can be very long and strenuous for everyone involved. The other option involves the act of plea bargaining.

Plea bargaining is where the defendant agrees to respond to the charges with a “guilty” or “no contest” plea in exchange for the prosecutor:

  • Dropping one or more charges.
  • Reducing a charge to a less serious offense.
  • Recommending to the judge a specific sentence that is acceptable to the defense.

How Many Convictions Come From Plea Bargaining?

Generally, around 90% of criminal convictions come from negotiated pleas. Criminal courts are becoming increasingly overcrowded and both judges and prosecutors feel pressured to move cases more quickly through the legal system. Criminal trials can take days, weeks, or even months to complete and plea bargaining can be a helpful way for both the defense and prosecution to come to a reasonable agreement while avoiding a trial.

When Does Plea Bargaining Take Place?

The defense and prosecution can make a plea deal at almost any point in the criminal justice process, from shortly after the defendant is arrested until just before the prosecutor files charges. They can also be conducted when a criminal trial has a hung jury, as a way of avoiding going through yet another trial. Finally, a plea deal can be made during the appeals process after a defendant has been convicted.

Your Criminal Defense Lawyer in Towson, MD

It is up to you and your criminal defense attorney to decide whether a plea bargain is right for you. The professional defense attorneys at Albers & Associates are well-versed in criminal law and the court proceedings that follow charges and can help you navigate the process. We’re also here to advocate for you as our client and ensure the proper decisions are made to grant you the most favorable outcome possible.

Contact us to schedule your free consultation for criminal defense legal services in Towson, MD today.

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