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What Do I Need to Know Before I Take a Plea Bargain in Washington D.C. or Maryland?

At Lotze Mosley LLP, our criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland provide each of our clients with the best solutions available for their unique case, which often raises the question of a plea agreement.

Providing our clients with the facts they need to make informed decisions about their futures is important to us — and them.

In that regard, to follow is everything you need to know about plea bargains, plea deals, or plea agreements in Washington D.C. or Maryland.

What is a Plea Bargain?

Plea bargains are agreements made between the prosecutor and the defendant in a criminal case, where the person who is accused of a crime can accept a guilty charge.

When they do so, the prosecutor agrees to drop or reduce a criminal charge, and/or make sentencing recommendations to the judge when the defense attorney views the plea as the best option, instead of going to trial.

Plea agreements also help cases move the courts quickly, typically benefitting both parties when they are agreeable.

Who Negotiates the Plea Bargain?

The plea bargain request may be initiated by the prosecutor’s office or the defense attorney, however, both sides must agree to the plea arrangement before it can become valid.

The proposal typically includes pleading guilty to a lesser charge or fewer charges in exchange for a more desirable or lenient sentence.

Plea bargains are typically negotiated in private and ultimately prevent a case from going to trial.

Typically, the criminal court must approve the plea bargain before it becomes official. The courts also have the power to reject the agreement and send the case to trial.

Your criminal defense attorney Washington, DC should go over all your legal options before agreeing to a plea bargain, as the outcome is final and may consequently lead to a criminal record.

What are the Common Reasons a Defendant Would Accept a Plea Agreement?

There are many reasons a defendant may want to agree to a plea bargain, with the largest being that it is the best legal outcome they can get without taking their chances at trial.

Another common reason is to simply put the charges behind them without enduring the long court delays that interrupt their lives, adding to their expenses, stress, and anxiety.

Some are more concerned about the social implications that may accompany their charges, especially when sex crimes, drug crimes, DUI charges or domestic violence creates a stigma around their personal or professional lives, so they want to put the arrest behind them as quickly as possible.

Conversely, the prosecutor’s office may be reluctant to go to trial and offer a plea bargain that is too good to pass up, simply because they believe the strength of their case may deteriorate over time.

Plea bargains require serious thought and should always be reviewed by an experienced criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to the details.

If you have been charged with a crime, contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys in Washington D.C. and Maryland at Lotze Mosley LLP to determine the best course of action for your unique case by calling (202) 393-0535 today.

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