Although many scholars and legal experts are concerned about how many criminal cases are resolved through a plea bargain, there are different reasons why so many attorneys and their clients prefer this option. A criminal defense lawyer in Charleston SC knows that a better deal is typically available to the defendant through this method.
Pros and Cons for the Defendant
A successful plea bargain results in lower penalties for the defendant and often the avoidance of jail time. The downside is that the person has to plead guilty and does not get the benefit of the Constitutional right to a fair trial and a jury of peers. For an innocent defendant, a plea bargain may actually be the best solution in a pragmatic sense, even though they will always be considered guilty of the crime.
With so many TV dramas showing fictional criminal court trials, it may be startling to learn that about 90% of criminal charges result in a plea bargain. Of the remaining 10 percent, some cases proceed to trial, while others are dismissed by a judge or dropped by the prosecuting attorney. Having charges dropped or the case dismissed may be the first goal of a criminal defense lawyer in Charleston SC if there is any good reason to pursue that possibility.
The Judge’s Role
Another misconception perpetuated by TV dramas is that a defense attorney and a prosecuting attorney can quickly hammer out a deal that is immediately put into effect. In reality, a judge has to agree to this arrangement. The lawyers make their case at a hearing that’s scheduled on the court calendar. The judge may deny the plea bargain if they believe it is problematic for some reason.
A lawyer such as Edward L. Phipps knows that when presenting a plea deal to a judge, that judge will be looking at a few definitive important factors. One is whether the arrangement can be considered beneficial or detrimental to the residents of the area. Another is whether it is sensible in relation to the standing charges and the defendant’s prior criminal history, if any.