Plea Bargains in Criminal Casesplea

When someone has been charged with a crime, that person becomes part of the criminal judicial process. Their criminal case is active until one of three things happen: the case gets dismissed; the case is resolved by trial; or the defendant takes a plea.   The term “taking a plea” is common to most people whether they fully understand what it means or not. It is our hope that by reading this Blog, people can fully understand what it means to take a plea.

Evaluating your criminal case

Part of the job of a criminal defense lawyer is evaluating the strength of the government’s case against you.  Part of the criminal process is getting discovery, which is all the information and evidence that the prosecution has that is intended to be used against you.  Your criminal defense lawyer goes over this information. This information includes things such as police statements, witness statements, photos, recordings and other items. The criminal defense attorney then looks to see what the prosecutors can prove if anything.

Plea negotiation

Most criminal cases end in plea. This is for judicial efficiency and to attempt to balance the risk and reward that comes with trying a criminal case. It is a criminal defense attorney’s job to look out for the best interest of the defendant in a criminal case and to get the best results possible under the circumstances.  Sometimes this means trying a case, but sometimes it does not. When someone takes a plea they often have certainty with regards to particular charges, sentencing, and other punishments. If you lose a criminal trial the sentencing by the judge can be somewhat unpredictable and the defendant can get a wide variety of sentences and additional punishments depending on the facts and the charges.  

Plea example

  • Let’s say someone is charged with Breaking and Entering, Larceny after breaking and entering, possession of stolen goods, and conspiracy to commit breaking and entering. For the purposes of this example, let’s assume the criminal defense lawyer feels that the state can most likely prove all of these charges in court.  Let us further assume these are North Carolina state charges;
  • The example has the defendant charged with four felonies,
  • With this example, depending on the criminal record of the defendant, he can face several months in jail for each charge. For simplicity, let’s say 8 months for each charged for a total of 32 months.    
  • In this situation if your lawyer can work out a plea for you where you are pleading guilty only to the breaking and entering and have the other charges dismissed, serve 60 days in jail and be on probation for two years.  With all things considered, this would be a win.

Criminal cases can be very complicated and very serious. A criminal defense attorney can help you navigate through the situation.  At Gilles Law we handle criminal matters in North Carolina and South Carolina. Contact us today.