Those who are accused of committing a crime can find themselves facing aggressive prosecutors who diligently work to build strong cases. This means that the evidence mounted against a criminal defendant can be quite extensive. Yet, it is important to know that even in cases where the evidence makes it look like an individual is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, there may be criminal defense options available to him or her.
Although one can always try to challenge the legality or trustworthiness of the prosecution’s evidence, another option is to try to negotiate a favorable plea bargain. Generally speaking, plea bargaining occurs when prosecutors and defense attorneys negotiate a guilty plea in exchange for lesser charges and/or less severe penalties. The court system typically favors plea bargains, as it eases the already overwhelmed system, but that is no reason to accept a plea bargain. Instead, those who are considering pleading guilty need to carefully consider whether doing so is in their best interests.
When assessing a plea bargain, a criminal defendant should consider a number of factors. First is the seriousness of the criminal offense for which he or she has been charged. A crime such as murder, for example, may leave an individual facing much more serious penalties if a defendant goes to trial and loses compared to theft. Second, a defendant should analyze the strength of the prosecution’s evidence. If it looks insurmountable, then a plea bargain may be in a defendant’s best interests. Lastly, one who has been accused of a crime needs to consider the penalties they will face should they choose to accept a plea offer.
Negotiating a plea bargain can be a tricky matter. The results of such negotiations can hinge on one’s ability to assess the facts at hand and counter the prosecution’s claims. This is why many Floridians find the assistance of a criminal defense attorney beneficial in these matters.