When you are facing criminal charges, there are some instances in which you know that the case against you is strong. You might not want to have to endure a trial, but you might not want to have to plead guilty and let the chips fall where they may. In those cases, it might be feasible to determine if there is a chance that you could enter a plea agreement.
A plea agreement is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense regarding the case. Generally, you will have to agree that you will plead no contest or guilty to criminal charges as one of the conditions of the agreement. In exchange for that plea, the prosecution will agree to certain terms. These terms can include reducing the charges against you, agreeing not to enter certain information into your case or seeking a specific sentence for your case.
Besides being able to negotiate the terms associated with the plea bargain, a plea agreement can also help you to get your case resolved faster and for a lesser expense. Even though those are very valid benefits of a plea bargain, you shouldn’t let those facts alone dictate if you will accept a plea bargain or not.
There are several different ways that a plea bargain can affect you, so you have to think about all of them. For example, a plea bargain on fraud or embezzlement charges might mean that you have a mark on your criminal record that would prevent you from being able to hold certain jobs in your field.
Source: FindLaw, “Plea Bargains: In Depth,” accessed Feb. 12, 2016