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Benefits and drawbacks of plea bargaining

On Behalf of | Oct 5, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

A plea bargain is often an option in criminal cases where both sides agree to certain things to avoid a trial.

According to the American Bar Association, 98% of all criminal cases in the United States end with a plea bargain. There are some good and not-so-good about these deals for both sides.

The benefits of plea bargains

Plea bargains can save time and money. Trials can take a long time and cost a lot of money. By agreeing to a plea bargain, things can move quicker and be cheaper for everyone. Also, sometimes a person might feel stressed about what could happen at a trial. A plea bargain might bring a sense of relief by providing a clearer idea of the outcome.

Another benefit is they help clear up the courts. Going this route can free up the courts to deal with other cases and bring justice faster to others.

The drawbacks of plea bargaining

One downside is that the punishment might not seem fair. Sometimes, people might feel like they have to accept a plea bargain even if they did not do the crime due to fear of the potential outcome.

Plea bargains can also keep the truth from surfacing. When there is a trial, the evidence goes under a microscope. But with a plea deal, there might be less digging into what really happened. This could mean that the real story does not come out, and justice might not be as strong.

Additionally, plea bargains might give the impression that people can get away with lighter punishments. This could send the wrong message that breaking the law is not a big deal. It is important for the consequences of actions to be clear and consistent.

When considering a plea bargain, individuals should carefully weigh the pros and cons. It could be an ideal solution to the situation for some, but for others, it may not be the right choice.