A significant number of criminal cases never go before a Mississippi jury. Instead, the proceedings end when the defendant, the defense attorney, and the prosecutor reach a plea bargain agreement. Various circumstances may come together that make a plea bargain deal far preferable to a trial, and the deal could keep a defendant away from a guilty verdict and harsher punishment. Be mindful that not all plea bargains are identical, and defendants might face different choices based on their situation.
Plea bargain options for defendants
A common form of plea bargaining involves pleading to a lesser charge. A misdemeanor comes with lighter sentences than felonies, and some felonies are “lesser” than others. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge remains an option, but a judge has to accept the deal. A judge might not accept a plea deal that appears too lenient.
Plea bargaining could also involve the number of charges someone faces. A defendant might face several counts after being arrested. The defendant could plead guilty to one charge under the condition the other charges end up dismissed.
Plea bargaining could also involve the sentencing. Someone may plead guilty to a particular crime to receive a lighter sentence. This approach could result in serving probation rather than jail time. Again, the specific crime factors into the viability of such an arrangement.
Concerns about plea bargaining
Any agreement often requires careful thought and consideration when entering into a plea bargain arrangement. A plea bargain may save someone from the costs and risks associated with a trial, but the result is a criminal record. That said, opting for a plea bargain might be the right criminal defense strategy due to the circumstances.
Taking a chance at trial could be risky. Someone who seeks a not guilty verdict when the odds appear strongly against such an outcome may look at a harsh sentence with no leverage for leniency. Hence, many opt for a plea bargain instead.