Whenever you have been arrested or charged with a crime, you have the right to a qualified attorney who can provide the best possible defense to ensure your fair treatment under the law. In a best-case scenario, your criminal defense attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed, or they may present a case that results in a verdict of not guilty. However, when this is not possible, your next best option may be for your attorney to negotiate a plea bargain.
What Is a Plea Bargain?
In a plea bargain, you, the defendant, accept a conviction in exchange for reduced charges or sentence. For example, you may be able to have your charges lowered to a different class of misdemeanor or felony, or you may avoid the maximum fine or prison sentence associated with the charges you are facing. Often, this involves agreeing to alternative sentencing, including court supervision, probation, community service, or education and treatment programs.
In a plea deal, you may have two options for your plea:
- A guilty plea means that you admit guilt and accept any charges from the verdict.
- A no contest plea means that you accept the charges, but it is not an outright admission of guilt. This may be a good option if you are the defendant in a related civil court case, as an admission of guilt could be used as evidence against you.
Is a Plea Deal Right For Me?
A plea bargain may be the best decision if you are likely to be found guilty at the conclusion of your trial. Not only can this help you reduce your charges or sentence, but it can also help you avoid the time and costs associated with a lengthy trial. An experienced attorney can advise you as to whether a plea deal is likely to lead to the best outcome for your case.
Before you accept a plea deal, the court is also required to advise you regarding what you are agreeing to. The purpose of this is to ensure that your decision is voluntary and that you have a full understanding of the charges and possible penalty or sentence you face, as well as the impact the plea could have on your immigration status if you are not a U.S. citizen.
Contact a Milwaukee Criminal Defense Attorney
No matter how serious the charges you are facing, there is a chance that you can avoid conviction or reduce your sentence with the help of a defense attorney. At Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP, our experience allows us to give you well informed advice and quality representation whether you choose to accept a plea deal or fight your charges to the end. Contact a Milwaukee County criminal defense lawyer today at 414-271-1440 to schedule a consultation.