If you were arrested for a crime in New York, you might panic and worry about your future. You should know about plea agreements and how often they’re used.
What is a plea agreement?
A plea agreement, also known as a plea bargain, is an agreement in criminal cases where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge than what they would for a trial. There are many reasons for accepting a plea agreement. Unfortunately, a plea agreement doesn’t mean that a person automatically escapes a conviction.
How common are plea bargains?
Plea bargains are used more often in criminal cases than ever. The United States also leads with plea bargaining as 97% of cases end up being resolved with a guilty plea. However, this can hurt people who are arrested for crimes. With so many plea agreements being made, many defendants are waiving their right to a trial. This can adversely affect their ability to get a fair resolution in their case.
Should you accept a plea bargain?
When a person accepts a plea bargain, it states that they are guilty. In some cases, if a person has committed a crime, it could benefit them to take a plea because it might result in a lesser charge and penalties. However, there’s a problem with doing this if you’re innocent. If you did not commit a crime you were arrested for and accept a plea bargain, t could result in a wrongful conviction.
Even without a jail or prison sentence, accepting a plea bargain could carry serious consequences such as the following:
- Driver’s license suspension
- Difficulty finding a job
- Difficulty finding housing
- Difficulty getting certain professional licenses
- Being ordered to pay court fines and fees
Individuals who are immigrants who get convicted for crimes they didn’t commit after accepting plea bargains might also have trouble if they are seeking citizenship in the country.
If you were arrested for a crime you didn’t commit, you need to immediately get help for your case. Don’t take the situation lightly as your future might depend on quick action.