Are there negatives to plea bargains?

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Persons accused of criminal violations in Connecticut could face multiple felony charges and significant prison time. Defendants concerned about the jury returning with a guilty verdict might be amenable to a plea bargain. A plea bargain agreement could involve pleading guilty or no-contest to lesser charges and, possibly, seeing some charges dismissed. Jail time may be unavoidable, depending on the situation. In some instances, a plea bargain could be the right course of action to take. However, drawbacks might exist with plea bargain agreements, as well.

Drawbacks with plea bargain agreements

Anyone who accepts a plea bargain agreement in exchange for a guilty plea will end up with a criminal record. Even a misdemeanor conviction represents a permanent criminal record unless an expungement occurs. The bar to receive expungement or a pardon might be too high to hurdle. So, the conviction doesn’t go away.

Criminal convictions could follow someone around for the rest of his or her life, and people may lose voting or other rights due to a conviction. State laws may vary regarding lost rights and felony convictions. Federal statutes could affect someone convicted of a felony or even a misdemeanor. A person professionally involved with the hunting industry could face a lifetime ban from firearm ownership.

Unfortunately, a defendant may find him or herself taking a plea bargain agreement due to financial situation or worries about the jury. Even a person who is innocent might go with a plea bargain due to believing that a not guilty verdict may prove impossible. A guilty verdict could bring harsh sentencing.

Discussing options with an attorney

A criminal defense attorney could address many aspects of a client’s case. For example, if the police performed an illegal search, any procured evidence might not be admissible in court. Suppressing the evidence could leave the prosecutor with no case, making a plea bargain unnecessary. Other issues might include forced confessions, lack of probable cause, and witness credibility.

An experienced criminal defense attorney might negotiate a more equitable plea-bargain. Defendants could work with their attorneys to figure out whether a deal is acceptable.

Criminal law statutes allow for plea bargains, and these agreements may have drawbacks. Defendants may confer with an attorney when offered a plea deal.