New York City Criminal Attorneys Explain the “Plea Bargain”
A PLEA is simply the defense’s response to the prosecution’s charges during the criminal arraignment proceedings. Types of pleas include:
- Not Guilty
- No Contest
- Alford (a type of “not guilty” plea where the defendant admits there is enough evidence to convict)
PLEA BARGAINING occurs when the attorney for the defendant proposes that his client is willing to submit a “guilty” plea for a lesser offense. In most cases, including DUI, DWI and speeding tickets, the prosecution will accept a plea bargain rather than submit the state to the expense of a trial.
It’s not a secret that the court systems handle more volume than what they were intended to handle. Our jails are at full capacity, etc. As a result, our courts have deemed it prudent to enable defendants to negotiate plea bargains.
What’s a plea bargain in New York and how can I use it?
A plea bargain is a special arrangement made between the prosecution and the defense to settle the case quickly. The plea bargain is a way for the prosecution to get their guilty plea on a case that would otherwise go to trial and the defendant has the chance to take a lesser charge rather than risk a heftier penalty if convicted by the jury.
Types of plea agreements include charge bargains and sentence bargains. A charge bargain lets the defendant plead guilty of a lesser charge or to charges that are fewer in totality than they were indicted upon. A good example of a plea bargain would be a defendant originally charged with murder accepting a plea deal for a manslaughter charge.
The other type of plea bargaining is called sentence bargaining. This transpires when the prosecutorial team tells the defendant in advance what his sentence will be if he pleads guilty to the crimes he is charged with. Sentence bargaining is normally reserved for cases where the defendant is facing very serious charges and is likely to have the maximum sentence pass down. The judge must approve of any sentence bargains and most jurisdictions impose strict limits upon bargains.
Sentence bargains are usually reserved for high profile cases where the media can easily manipulate public opinion and, in turn, make re-election difficult. When the prosecution is unwilling to reduce the charges against the defendant due to public pressure, sentence bargaining is used.
A plea bargain is a contract between the prosecution and the defendant.
If the defendant fails to uphold their end of the deal, the contract is rescinded by the prosecution. If the prosecutor breaks his end of the deal, the defendant can move to have the agreement set aside or can even obtain a court order forcing the prosecutor to comply with the contract. This can occur when the prosecutorial team has agreed not to bring more charges against the defendant in exchange for pleading guilty to standing charges.
When accepting the plea bargain, it is important to both the prosecution and the defense to assure that the plea deal has been clearly recorded on the record. In some cases, the plea deal is done in writing and signed by both parties without verbalizing the entire plea agreement in court, which is acceptable.
Upon sentencing, the judge will ask the defendant if there are any other promises made to them other than what is stated in the plea agreement. If the defendant has been promised a different agreement than what is presented to the court and they neglect to point this out, they are left without any legal recourse.
It’s imperative that the defendant and their attorney are very thorough in their examination of plea agreements. The experienced New York City defense attorneys at Bukh Law Firm are experts in plea negotiations. Only expert attorneys are fully qualified to act in the best interests of their clients. If you find yourself faced with criminal charges, do not wait to call Bukh Law Firm 24/7 at 800-601-0207.
We are hands on throughout all stages of the legal criminal process from pretrial investigations and negotiations to trial. Our goal is deliver excellent legal advice to help you achieve a reduced sentence, or if possible, dismissal of charges. Call us today at (212) 729-1632.