If you have been charged with a crime, you have two options. The first is to take a plea bargain and the second is to go to trial. There is no right answer about which choice to make. It just depends on the situation. Understanding what each of these mean and entail can be overwhelming. That is why it is so important to get a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin to help you out. We will help you analyze your options and decide what works best. Read on to learn more about plea bargains, trials, and which one you should take.
What Is Involved with a Plea Bargain?
A plea bargain is when the defendant pleads guilty either to the original charge or to a downgraded charge. The goal here is to try and get a downgraded charge and avoid jail time and all the stigma that comes along with it. The main reason to choose this option is because, often when you go to trial against the state, the state wins their case. This is a way to plead guilty and receive a less harsh charge. Avoiding a full-blown trial saves time and money. Also, when you go to trial, it is not a sure thing that you will win. This often results in defendants getting the full extent of the charge and associated penalties.
There are several different types of plea agreements available. The first is a guilty plea to one charge while the remaining charges are dismissed. For example, if you receive a trespassing charge and a drunk in public charge, maybe you could plead guilty for trespassing and get the drunk in public charges dismissed. The second type of plea agreement is when the prosecutor recommends a particular sentence in consideration of the defendant’s guilty plea. The third type is when there is an agreement that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense. This is when your attorney comes into play. They can help you understand the different types of plea agreements and which one applies to your situation.
It is possible for the court to deny the plea agreement. In this case, the defendant and attorney can try to negotiate a new agreement, or they can go ahead and move forward to a trial.
What Is Involved with a Trial?
During a trial, the defendant and attorney will work together to build a case in an attempt to prove to the state that the case against them is not beyond reasonable doubt. The defendant will go through the whole trial process in hopes of winning the case to get the charges dropped or downgraded. The goal of the defendant is to not go to trial unless it is absolutely necessary. Statistically speaking, the state wins a large majority of cases. This means the defendant doesn’t have a great chance when they go to trial.
There are two situations in which going to trial is a must. The first is when the defendant is innocent, but the prosecutor won’t dismiss charges and the Judge denies the motion for dismissal. The second is when there is no plea bargain offered to the defendant at all. This can happen if the crime is very severe such as murder.
If the defendant does go to trial, they are given constitutional rights. Your attorney will help you to understand these rights so that you are given a fair trial. The first is that you are considered innocent until proven guilty. The second is that the defendant can cross-examine witnesses who are against them. The defendant can also only be convicted upon proof presented beyond reasonable doubt. Third, the defendant can either testify for themselves or they have the right to remain silent.
Last, if the defendant has been arrested and is in jail, they do not have to come to trial in handcuffs and in their prison uniform, as this can affect the opinions of the jury members.
What Is the Best Option for Me According to My New Jersey Attorney?
When the option is available, avoid trial. As mentioned above, the state wins an overwhelming majority of court cases leaving defendants to get their full charges and full punishment. If a plea bargain is available, it is often advised to take it. A plea bargain can help defendants get their charges downgraded which is always better than getting the original charge. This is a way that defendants can often avoid jail time. In addition, avoiding a trial saves the defendant a lot of time and money. Court cases can drag on and last for months, leaving the defendant out of work and struggling to keep up financially.
There are cases where the court will not offer a plea bargain, or they will reject the one put forward. In these situations, the defendant must go to trial. Also, going to trial can depend on the severity of the crime. For example, if you are being charged with murder, a trial is almost always necessary.
How Can My New Jersey Attorney Help?
Have no fear, because a New Jersey attorney like Leon Matchin can help you through this entire process. An attorney will help you to understand the pros and cons between a trial and a plea bargain and figure out what works best in your situation. An attorney will also help defendants understand their rights in the courtroom which can be very important to the success of the trial. In addition, if a plea bargain is decided upon, the attorney will help the defendant to understand the different types of plea agreements and what works best in the situation.
Getting a criminal charge is overwhelming and scary enough. Once the charge is received, the defendant will either make a plea bargain or go to trial. Fortunately, your New Jersey attorney, Leon Matchin, is here to help every step of the way. His goal is to get your charges dismissed or downgraded so that you can move on with your life. For more information about plea bargains versus trials call Leon Matchin today at 732-887-2479, or contact him via email at [email protected].