What is a Plea Bargain and Deferred Prosecution in Arizona?

what is a plea bargainIf you’re facing criminal charges, your goal is to find a way to prove your innocence. Your Arizona criminal defense attorney is there to help you achieve that goal. However, in some cases seeking a plea deal or deferred prosecution is in your best interest to limit the penalties you face.

There are a few cases where your attorney might recommend negotiating with the court system. One such case is when the prosecution has compelling evidence against you that makes conviction quite probable. If your case has this characteristic, don’t be surprised if your attorney wants to negotiate your sentencing.

When working with an attorney who is negotiating your sentencing, it’s helpful to know the terminology and what to expect. So, here’s a look at plea deals and deferred prosecution to help you understand why your attorney is making the recommendation and how the process will work.

What is a plea deal?

A plea deal, also known as a plea bargain, allows you to plead guilty and negotiate a lesser sentence than you would get if your case went to trial. The prosecuting attorney is motivated to negotiate a plea deal because it allows them to focus their resources elsewhere – and resources are often spread thin.

Seeking a plea deal should be a discussion you have with your attorney. You should in no way feel forced into a plea deal because you are ultimately pleading guilty to the crime you are accused of. That can have lasting effects.

During your discussions with your Arizona criminal defense attorney you should weigh the pros and cons of a plea deal. Your attorney should walk you through the evidence in your case and what it means. This is a time when it’s exceedingly beneficial to have an attorney because he or she has vast experiences with other cases and can bring that to light.

Your attorney also has a working knowledge of the prosecutors and judges in your area. This means that your attorney knows the likelihood of how things will turn out based on their previous dealings.

If you cannot reach a plea agreement with the prosecutor and judge, your case will still go to trial. You still have the opportunity to plead not guilty or no contest. The statements you make during the plea negotiations cannot be used in court against you.

What is deferred prosecution?

While in a plea deal you are pleading guilty, in deferred prosecution you agree to undergo counseling or treatment. Depending on the charges against you, this can be a very beneficial route to take. That’s because in deferred prosecution, the charges you are facing will be dropped.

You should be aware though that what you say in statements requesting deferred prosecution can be used against you. You should discuss this option with your Arizona criminal defense attorney to get his or her take on it given the risks of your statements being used against you later.

All cases are not appropriate for this negotiation, but for those that it is appropriate for, it’s very good for your reputation.

How does an Arizona criminal defense attorney help?

An Arizona criminal defense attorney knows the ins and outs of the law and can make recommendations on what’s best for your specific case. While you can represent yourself throughout your defense or accept a court-provided attorney, the outcome may not be as favorable.

Entering into a plea deal can be confusing if you don’t know what to say or do or what the prosecution means by certain terms. An attorney helps you from start to finish in your negotiations during criminal defense proceedings, even before trial.

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