If you are arrested in Pittsburgh, your case will work through Pennsylvania’s legal system. The system is complex and involves multiple steps, beginning with the initial arraignment. The process then goes all the way through a trial, to sentencing. However, there is a high probability that your case will not go through all these steps. It can be settled at any point along the way. One of the ways this can happen is with a negotiated plea.What Is a Negotiated Plea?
After the pretrial conferences are finished, and your Pittsburgh Criminal Defense Lawyer has evaluated the evidence gathered from the investigation, you have two options: you can decide to go ahead with a trial, or you can offer a guilty plea. To plead guilty involves admitting that you did the things you are accused of. One form of a guilty plea is a “negotiated plea.” Other terms for this are “plea bargain” and “plea deal.”
If you are successful in negotiating a plea, it means you and your lawyer come to an agreement with the prosecutor concerning your charge and/or sentence. In a negotiated plea, you agree to plead guilty to at least one of your charges, if not more, usually the less serious crimes that you were originally charged with. In this bargain, you ask for a lighter sentence in exchange for your admission to the commission of the crimes. Your charges may be dropped from felony-level charges to misdemeanors.
Once negotiated, the prosecutor and your lawyer will submit your deal to the judge who is hearing your case. In general, plea bargains are accepted by judges. The judge will then give you the sentence agreed upon in the plea bargain. However, the judge retains the right to turn your plea deal down. If that happens, he or she can force you to choose between negotiating another deal or going forward with a trial.
A negotiated plea cannot be one made behind closed doors. Instead, in open court and in front of you, the defendant, the terms of the deal must be stated. The judge is allowed to reject the deal, if he or she chooses, and require that you go to trial or negotiate a different deal. You will be questioned by the judge to make sure you understand the terms of the deal and agree to it.
There are advantages to you if you negotiate a plea. Your sentence will not be as severe as it could be if you went forward with a trial and were found guilty. And, you are spared the worry about what your sentence will be if you go to trial.
If you agree to a plea deal, you give up your right to appeal your sentence. Make sure you understand what you are giving up and what you are getting before you agree to it.Charge Bargaining and Sentence Bargaining
To make the plea bargaining convenient, attorneys and judges segregate plea bargaining into types: sentence bargaining and charge bargaining. In the sentence bargaining, the prosecutor agrees to suggest a lighter sentence for specific allegations if the defendant pleads guilty or no contest. Charge bargaining means the prosecutor agrees to drop some charges in exchange for pleading guilty by the defendant.Plea Bargains Negotiation Process
In any stage of the criminal justice process in the Pittsburgh area, plea bargaining can take place. Generally, after the arrest of the defendant, and before the filing of criminal charges by the prosecutor, plea deals can be struck. A successful plea deal is executed by a professional Pittsburgh Lawyer like the attorneys at Logue Law Group, who have experience in this process.Why Hire a Lawyer?
The choice to acknowledge or dismiss a charge and the sentence of a plea deal ought to be made only after a detailed consultation with your Pittsburgh Lawyer. Don’t delay! Call the offices of Logue Law Group now at 1-844-PITT-DUI or 412-389-0805, or contact us online.