The criminal process in Ohio is a long road that starts from an arrest on criminal charges, and leads up to a trial. Fortunately, there are multiple stages along the way that allow you the opportunity to obtain a favorable outcome. One option is to negotiate an agreement regarding the charges through plea bargaining. Though there are advantages to plea bargains, there may also be drawbacks depending on your circumstances. It’s important to fully understand what to expect and how such an agreement affects your rights.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus criminal defense attorneys have extensive experience in all steps of the criminal process, including plea bargains. We can explain the implications of entering into such an agreement, and inform you of the reasons that accepting guilt may not be a good fit. To schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case, contact us today at (614) 500-3836.
What is a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain is a way to resolve a case through agreement of the involved parties. Though your attorney can negotiate with the prosecution to reach a compromise on the charges you’re facing. The plea bargain may incorporate one or a combination of different factors:
- You plead guilty to a lesser charge than the crime that led to your arrest
- You enter a guilty plea to fewer charges than the number you face
- You plead guilty to the charges, but the prosecutor recommends a reduced sentence to the judge
How Does a Plea Bargain Benefit My Case?
When you reach a negotiated plea with the prosecutor, your potential sentence is often reduced. By pleading down to a lower charge or fewer charges, the judge will sentence you to the punishment that fits the crime. For instance, you face a shorter term of incarceration and lower fines for a misdemeanor as compared to a felony.
You also benefit when you enter a plea agreement based upon the third factor above. Judges typically give great thought to input from prosecuting attorneys. When issuing a sentence, they are likely to follow the recommendation of the prosecutor.
Keep in mind that a plea bargain can eliminate the uncertainty of going to trial. When you negotiate a plea, you will know your fate in most cases. You’re can also resolve the case relatively quickly, enabling you to get started serving your sentence and move on with your life.
Why Would a Plea Bargain Not Be in My Best Interests?
In all three instances above, you’re accepting guilt to the criminal charges. You will still have a criminal record, and you’re subject to the sentencing for the agreed-upon offense. If you have a potential defense or the prosecution’s evidence against you is weak, it may be better to consider fighting the charges.
It’s also important to note that you may not be able to change your plea after entering it. If evidence is later discovered, or you have grounds to appeal a procedural matter, the law may not allow you to take back your guilty plea.
Review Plea Bargain Options with a Columbus, OH Criminal Defense Attorney
While this overview may be useful, you may have other questions about whether a negotiated plea is the right option for your circumstances. Some risks affect your rights and future, which is why it’s essential to discuss plea bargains with a knowledgeable Columbus criminal defense lawyer. Our attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates can provide help with your case, so call us today at (614) 500-3836, or reach out via our online form to schedule a free, initial evaluation of your case.