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Okabe & Haushalter Blog

Plea Bargains: Should You Take One?

Okabe & Haushalter Apr 26, 2019 Criminal Defense

At Okabe & Haushalter, we see many clients charged with criminal offenses—some relatively minor and others quite significant. One of the most commonly fielded questions from our clients and their family members is whether or not they should go for a plea deal that they have been offered by the prosecution in their case. The short answer is “it depends.”

A plea bargain is a legal agreement where the accused agrees to enter a plea of guilty to one or more of the charges against him/her or to a reduced or lesser charge in exchange for a pre-determined and sometimes more lenient sentence.

For instance, we see a lot of DUI cases where the defendant is asked by the prosecution to plead guilty to reckless driving in lieu of the DUI charge. Reckless driving is a lesser charge that has reduced penalties compared to DUI.

Plea Deal Benefits

Why do prosecutors offer plea deals? The answer is simple. It helps them to move through their caseloads more quickly, and in some instances, if the prosecution has a weak case, it ensures they get a conviction of some sort, even if it is not the preferred one. The prosecution gets a “win,” and the defendant pays less of a penalty, with reduced jail time, fewer legal fees and less fines.

Weighing Your Options

Before accepting a plea deal, we have our clients look at factors affecting their case outcomes and weigh their options with our Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. We look at three major components:

  • The strength of the case against the client. How likely is it that the prosecution can prove its case if it goes to trial? Is the proof against the client enough to prove guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt?”
  • Any collateral damages. Is the defendant on probation? Is the defendant a non-citizen who might be deported if pleading guilty?
  • Benefits of plea deal versus potential conviction. What is the worst-case scenario? What is the best-case scenario?

An Admission of Guilt

Pleading guilty or even pleading “no contest” is not an exoneration. It’s important to remember that when you accept a plea bargain, you’re admitting guilt, and your conviction will establish a permanent criminal record. Depending on the charge, you could lose some of your rights, including the right to bear arms and the right to vote. And it is also possible that you may lose your right to an appeal once you accept a plea bargain.

Let Us Help

Okabe & Haushalter and our team of Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys know that your future is on the line when you are charged with a crime. Your happiness and the happiness of your family are also in jeopardy. It is important to have the best possible legal defense in place for both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Contact us to set up your no-obligation case review to discuss your particular case now by dialing 310-430-7799.