Criminal Defense Attorney Patrick Apple answers frequently asked questions about plea bargains.

  • What is a plea bargain?

It’s a contract between the defendant and the prosecutor. The prosecutor and defense counsel, usually, have negotiated some arrangement which often results in a dismissal or reduction of some charges. Often, a defendant is charged with multiple things so it allows the parties to come to an agreement on what charges they will proceed with.

  • How common is plea bargaining?

In the early 2000s, a study was conducted that found 96% of federal cases resulted in a guilty plea bargain while 91% of state cases did the same. So, it’s very common.

  • What types of pleas are there (in plea bargaining?)

The guilty plea, which is not just an admission of guilt, but that all the facts as stated in the case are true. The no-contest plea is similar to a guilty plea but in a lot of cases cannot be used against the defendant in civil court. And an Alford plea, which is where a person gets the benefits of the plea deal because they know the case against them is strong enough to win at trial, therefore they are going to be convicted. However, they still factually maintain their innocence.

  • Why would someone take a plea bargain if it results in conviction?

The defendant gets to be an active player in his or her future. They can agree to their sentence ahead of time if a judge approves and they aren’t waiting around on a trial date. Often, they have charges reduced or dismissed entirely. They know what they are facing quickly with as little stress as possible.

If you’re struggling with a criminal charge and need someone to advocate on your behalf, give one of our experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys a call. We can help!