Information About Plea Bargains In Florida
In many criminal cases, it may be possible to present legal defenses that can result in your charges being dismissed by the court or in an acquittal at trial. However, the large majority of criminal cases never go to trial and there may not be legal defenses strong enough to have your case dropped. In such situations, your main goal may be to simply limit the consequences you face for the offense as much as possible. This is often accomplished by successful plea bargaining on the part of your criminal defense attorney.
Many people have heard of the term “plea bargain” but may not know exact what a plea bargain entails or what is possible through this process. The following is some information regarding plea bargains in Florida criminal court.
How Should You Plead?
Criminal defendants have the option to plead not guilty or guilty to the charges they face. When you are first charged with a crime, your attorney will almost always advise you to plead “not guilty” because they have not yet investigated the circumstances of your case or looked into any possible legal defenses. In addition, before you plead guilty, your attorney can negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecutor.
A plea bargain often involves more favorable terms than if you had simply pled guilty on your own. Plea bargains can include reduced charges, diversionary programs, probation instead of jail time, substance abuse treatment instead of jail time, and more. Some important things to keep in mind include:
- Your attorney should fully explain the plea deal so that you understand all of the terms to which you are agreeing;
- Once you agree to a plea bargain, you should be prepared to abide by any conditions involved;
- You have legal rights if the prosecutor fails to abide by their promises.
Too many people who do not fully understand their rights and options in the criminal process may choose to plead guilty to an offense without even having an attorney explore the possibility of a favorable plea bargain. This is often the case with traffic violations when a driver decides to simply pay a fine instead of discussing their case with an attorney. When you pay a traffic fine, you are pleading guilty to that charge and the traffic conviction will go on your driving record. If you have an attorney plea bargain with the prosecutor, you may be able to have your moving violations reduced and can avoid points on your driving record, insurance increases, possible license suspension, and more.
Discuss Your Case With A Boca Raton Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Plea bargaining is an extremely important part of the criminal justice system. Whether you have a relatively simple speeding ticket or are facing charges of a serious violent crime, plea bargaining can likely benefit your case. At the law office of Lavalle, Brown & Ronan in Boca Raton, our experienced criminal defense attorneys will explore every option for the best results in your case, including plea bargaining and trial. If you have been charged with a crime, call us today at 888-646-1315.