R. Todd Bennett, P.C.
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Are plea bargains always the right option?

Most Texas criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining rather than going to trial. Though many advocate on behalf of plea bargains because courts would be overwhelmed if all cases went to trial, others believe that they often provide defendants with too easy of a way out.

Whether the prosecution will consider a plea bargain or not can often depend on the prosecutor's individual discretion. For example, some prosecutors may be more inclined to negotiate with the defense in criminal cases where their evidence against a defendant is insufficient in some way. Rather than allow the case to go to trial and probably result in acquittal, a prosecutor may agree to allow a defendant to plead guilty to a lesser offense instead. For the defense, plea bargaining can offer a guaranteed outcome to the case instead of the uncertainty a trial can bring.

In a 2014 essay, a U.S. District Court judge commented upon the lack of judicial oversight in plea bargaining. He wrote that the system may be subject to abuse by some prosecutors who are more interested in achieving a successful record rather than ensuring justice is done. Although the percentage is likely very small, he did not refute the possibility that some defendants in his district have been pressured into pleading guilty to crimes for which they were innocent.

People who have been charged with a crime may wish to enlist the services of an attorney who can negotiate with the prosecution on their behalf. An attorney may thoroughly review the charges against their client to determine their strength and use that information as part of the negotiation process.

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