Criminal defense attorneys vigorously fight for the rights of their clients and to do what is in their client’s best interest. Although the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees all defendants the right to a trial by jury, a very small percentage of criminal cases ever make it that far. However, at the same time, any seasoned Arizona criminal defense attorney knows that not every case can result in an acquittal or a not guilty verdict. In certain cases there may be concerns about an unfavorable verdict, pre-trial motions can be litigated in hopes of creating a more favorable scenario.
For example, a pre-trial motion to suppress physical evidence or a motion in limine to preclude certain harmful testimony may make a defendant’s case much stronger. In situations where these pre-trial motions are denied or where the prosecution’s case against the accused is exceptionally strong, an experienced Arizona criminal defense attorney should discuss the idea of a negotiated guilty plea, or a plea bargain. Plea bargains have a bad reputation. However, tens of thousands of criminal defendants in Arizona accept plea bargains to resolve their cases each year. This is because Arizona plea deals are the product of significant negotiation and take into account several factors. Most notably, when a defendant accepts responsibility for a crime, the prosecutor is able to divert scarce resources elsewhere.
A prosecutor is also motivated to resolve cases through negotiated plea bargains in order to focus on other, potentially more serious, cases. Although plea agreements can benefit some defendants, they are not for everyone and they should never be pushed on a criminal defendant by their legal counsel. Earlier this month, a woman was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. According to a local news report on the case, the woman admitted to killing a Chinese exchange student after the two were involved in a car accident back in January of 2016.
Initially, the woman was charged with first-degree murder, and faced a sentence of life imprisonment. At arraignment, she pled not guilty and the case proceeded toward trial. However, she later accepted a plea bargain whereby she pled guilty to the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder. The reason the prosecution offered the plea to the lesser offense was not immediately evident, although it was noted that the woman suffered from a history of mental health issues and drug abuse.
Choosing Whether To Accept Or Reject A Plea Bargain
The benefits of accepting a plea bargain include:
Choosing the best Criminal Defense Attorney to defend you is one of the most critical aspects of protecting your freedom. Choosing an experienced attorney requires a great deal of work on your part but in the end, the time spent researching will be to your benefit. Plea bargains occur with such frequency that it is reported that more than 90 percent of criminal cases across the country are resolved through plea bargaining. Only a competent and qualified Arizona crimnal defense attorney can advise you on whether to accept a plea bargain or not depending on the specific facts of your case.
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