When facing criminal charges, you may also hear the term plea bargain thrown around. In certain situations, the defendant faces the option of taking a plea bargain. Usually, they do so in exchange for a guilty plea.
But if someone offers you a plea bargain, should you take it? What are the benefits? Are there any potential drawbacks?
Why are plea bargains controversial?
Cornell Law School looks into the history of the plea bargain. Plea bargains have a somewhat checkered past riddled with controversy. On one hand, some people think it lets guilty parties off too easily. If someone committed a crime and takes a plea bargain, they almost always get lighter sentences and fewer penalties. Victims of crimes often disagree with this stance. On the other hand, some people think it forces defendants to give up rights they should hold onto, casting them guilty with no proof or means of defense.
What are the pros and cons?
The pros and cons of plea bargains often end up topics of hot debate, too. Many believe it is a good option if conviction is inevitable, as it helps avoid the maximum sentence. However, it also has the potential to permanently mar your life after the crime thanks to the criminal record it leaves you with. A guilty plea can make it harder to get a job or rent an apartment after you get back to your life.
For you, you must examine your own situation to determine if a plea bargain suits you. You may want to contact a legal expert to help, as they can guide you with years of experience.