Some estimates suggest that at least 90% of all legal cases in the United States end up with a plea deal. There are various reasons why prosecutors offer this option and why defendants take them up on it.
Why prosecutors offer plea deals
Legal cases can take a long time to build. Preparing to argue one at trial requires prosecutors to invest even more effort. They often have more cases to try than they have time. One of the primary reasons why prosecutors offer plea deals is to free up their schedules to focus on trying more significant cases.
What motivates a defendant to accept a plea deal
Prosecutors generally don’t move forward in pursuing a case against a defendant unless they have significant enough evidence to get a conviction in a case. Many defendants agree to plea deals because they derive some comfort in knowing what to expect as an outcome in their case. It also often results in reduced charges.
What a plea deal says about the strength of a prosecutor’s case
Whether or not a prosecutor offers a plea deal may have a lot to do with how strong they think their case is. They’re less likely to offer a deal when the evidence is clear and convincing. They’re more likely to do so when they’re working with very little, such as when most of the evidence they have is circumstantial.
What happens once prosecutors agree to a plea deal?
Negotiations may result in many different outcomes. Prosecutors may agree to throw out minor charges while prosecuting more serious ones or reduce them across the board. No deal is final until a judge reviews and signs off on it. The court may request that both parties justify why they should honor the plea bargain before rendering any decision.
You shouldn’t take it for granted that prosecutors will offer such a plea deal to resolve your Texas case. You shouldn’t assume that a judge will accept it even if you reach an agreement with prosecutors. A criminal defense attorney here in McKinney will want to learn more about the charges you’re facing before advising you of potential defense strategies to pursue in your case. One of these may include arguing on your behalf for why a prosecutor or judge should accept a plea deal.