Criminal cases do not necessarily end with the judge’s verdict. The reality can be a little different. The majority of cases are resolved with plea bargains, also known as plea arrangement or plea deal. This article explains some important facts about plea bargaining in Pennsylvania.
The Bureau of Justice Assistance, stated in a 2011 report, “While there are no exact estimates of the proportion of cases that are resolved through plea bargaining, scholars estimate that about 90 to 95% of both federal and state court cases are resolved through this process.” And it perfectly aligns with the statistics presented in the report showcasing that about 71,795 out of 75,573 cases under the federal district court were concluded with a guilty plea.What is a Plea Bargaining or a Plea Deal Arrangement?
A plea bargaining deal is an arrangement by the prosecution and the defense whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty for a certain offense in return for some concessions from the prosecution. If the defendant pleads guilty to the original charges he was subjected to or to an offense of a lower level, it might help to get lighter penalties for the defendant. Take, for example, the first degree misdemeanors in Pennsylvania, which require a fine amount of up to $10,000 along with a sentence of 5 years imprisonment, but the second-degree misdemeanor penalties are just restricted to a fine of $5,000 with a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.
There are various types of plea bargaining as given below:
Pennsylvania plea deals are governed by the regulations of 234 Pa. Code Rule 590 (Pleas and Plea Agreements) among which a few vital provisions under Rule 590, which must be known to all the defendants or their friends and family members, are as follows:
It is extremely crucial to understand that a judge is never under any obligation to accept a certain plea bargain arrangement, and, if he or she thinks that the terms given in this kind of a deal are quite lenient, then he or she can take a decision of rejecting the decreased punishment as proposed by the prosecution. But having said so, this is also true that most plea deals are generally accepted. If the plea bargain gets approved from the judge, then its terms are not modified with the exception of the defendant not being able to fulfill certain conditions in this arrangement. For instance, sometimes, the defendant might fail to undertake any community service as mandated in the agreement.
There are many reasons why a plea deal might be a good idea. For one thing, jury trials are stressful. No one knows how one might go, and most times, a court trial leads to a conviction anyway. By taking a plea deal, an offender gets a lighter sentence than he would if he goes to trial. Related to this, the charges one accepts in a plea deal are usually lesser charges than what he or she would be facing if they decided they want a jury trial.
Along with those heavier charges come heftier penalties, meaning longer jail sentences and higher fines. Additionally, court costs can add up quickly when one has a jury trial. A plea bargain means the defendant will pay far less in court costs.
Have you been arrested in Pennsylvania or Pittsburgh in particular? Or do you know someone who is undergoing such legal entanglements? Then, you should resort to an efficient and experienced Pittsburgh criminal lawyer. Look for a law firm which has dealt with several cases of defendants involved in misdemeanors and felony charges in Pittsburgh or all across Pennsylvania that entails federal crimes, drug crimes, or sex crimes. The right criminal defense attorneys will go to any extent for the protection of your or your near and dear ones’ legal rights as well as interests, fighting this tough battle against all charges on your behalf. Contact a renowned and skilled lawyer today to get a free consultation in such matters.