You may be familiar with the phrase “copping a plea,” which is commonly uttered in crime and courtroom movies and TV shows. Copping a plea refers to pleading guilty and accepting penalties for criminal charges in exchange for not going to trial. Negotiating this agreement is known as plea bargaining, and it is typically the method by which sentences are decided.
If you are facing criminal charges, you will certainly want to consider entering a plea bargain. Simply put, you need to decide if a plea bargain offers you your best possible outcome. Among the factors upon which you can base your decision are:
- The strength of the prosecution’s evidence against you.
- The likelihood you will be found guilty at the conclusion of the trial.
- The seriousness of the crime you allegedly committed.
The primary advantage of accepting a plea deal is that you will almost certainly receive a more lenient sentence than what you would receive if you are found guilty in a trial. Because court systems are often overburdened, plea bargains are a preferred method of resolving cases.
But what if you did not commit the alleged crime or if the sentence offered in a plea bargain is too severe? Well, in such cases, your best option could be standing trial and letting the justice system decide your fate.
Regardless of whether you want to take a plea deal or go to trial, it is a good idea to seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney before committing one way or the other. The attorney can advise you on which choice is best for you and can act on your behalf by either negotiating your plea deal or representing you in court.