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What induces prosecutors to offer plea deals?

| Apr 23, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

It’s quite common for prosecutors to offer plea deals here in the U.S. Approximately 90% of all criminal cases are resolved through plea agreements. 

There’s a strong chance that prosecutors may offer you a plea deal if you’re facing serious criminal charges. It’s critical that you understand why prosecutors offer plea deals and what expectations they might have of you in exchange.

What purpose does a plea deal serve?

Defendants see plea deals as an opportunity to reduce their charges versus taking their chances in court and potentially facing maximum penalties if convicted of an offense. Litigation can also be costly, so agreeing to a plea deal can reduce legal costs associated with taking a case to trial.

Prosecutors and judges see plea deals as an option for expediting the legal process. Court dockets are generally overcrowded. Prosecutors typically have heavy caseloads and would prefer to focus their efforts on their most serious cases. Plus, a plea deal goes down in the record as a “win” for the prosecution, and that improves their record.

Which factors impact plea deals prosecutors make?

In many cases, plea bargains reflect the strengths and weaknesses of a prosecution’s case and their confidence in winning at trial. They may agree to reduce a defendant’s charges to a lesser offense or agree to a reduced sentence, knowing that their case is weak. 

Other times, a plea deal is offered as a form of barter: The prosecutor may, for example, be willing to trade a plea deal for a defendant’s testimony against another defendant who is facing even more serious charges.

Should you consider a plea deal in your criminal case?

There’s a strong likelihood that prosecutors might offer you a plea deal if you’re facing criminal charges. You’ll need to carefully weigh the offer to see if it’s right for you.

Remember that not all plea deals are created equal. An attorney can advise you of your rights in your rights and aid you in determining whether a plea deal is something you should consider as an outcome in it.