NJ Plea Bargains – NJ Plea Bargaining – New Jersey Plea Bargains – Plea Bargains in New Jersey
“Sometimes a plea bargain can create the best result in your case. While it’s not as good as a dismissal, it can put your legal issues in your past.”
A plea bargain is essentially an arrangement between the defense and the prosecutor in which some concession is made in exchange for a guilty plea. Sometimes certain charges will be downgraded to a lesser offense in exchange for a guilty plea, sometimes other charges will be dismissed, and sometimes even sentencing will be lessened.
While most defendants don’t want to plead guilty to charges instead of beating them entirely, a plea can often be the best option. For one, not all cases are a guaranteed victory if taken to trial. Sometimes securing probation instead of extensive jail time is simply the best way to go, even if it means having a permanent criminal record.
Other times, in lesser offenses, it’s often best to take a lesser penalty in order to avoid a lengthy criminal trial process. Prosecutors frequently will give very good deals on small offenses simply to move the legal process along. Many municipalities are backed up enough as it is, and it doesn’t help to be sending insignificant matters to trial.
Purpose of Plea Agreements and What they are For
Plea bargains are agreements between the prosecution and defense typically entered to save court time and money. A defendant, rather than fight a conviction at trial, may agree to plead guilty to some or all the charges in exchange for a lesser sentence in the range of possible sentences for each crime pled. A defendant may agree to plead guilty to some charges but challenge other criminal charges at trial, depending on the evidence against them and their chances of success at trial. Though there is no law validating plea bargains, they are regularly entered in the interests of expediency and time.
But a prosecutor cannot insist on terms that deprive a defendant of their constitutional rights, nor can they override state law that requires mandatory minimum sentences. In fact, prosecutors follow guidelines that steer their agreement offers in the interests of uniformity. Further, a judge still must approve the agreement before it goes into effect, and a judge can reject the agreement in whole or in part. The judge may also add to or subtract from the agreed to sentences if they believe the crime circumstances and facts warrant more or less time, considering the aims of sentences to punish, protect, and rehabilitate the defendant, protect the public, and do justice for the victim.
The Most Simple Plea Bargain – A Speeding Ticket
The easiest way to describe a plea bargain in a traffic ticket case is using a speeding ticket. For example, if you received a speeding ticket for driving 20 MPH over the limit and you appear in court, there’s a great chance the prosecutor will offer you a plea deal whereby he or she downgrades the speeding ticket from a 4 point speeding ticket to a 2 point speeding ticket. They do that by amending your speed down from 20 MPH over the limit to say 5 MPH over the limit. In exchange for them doing that, you agree to plead guilty to the amended (downgraded charge).
This works out well for both you and the State. You get a break by pleading guilty to a lower charge with lower points, fines, and DMV surcharges. The State is able to resolve your case without the necessity of a trial where the officer would need to show up in court and testify against you to prove the case. If every traffic case went to trial, the Judge, prosecutor and police officers would be doing trials all day and night and they wouldn’t be able to do their jobs properly.
A Criminal Case Plea Bargain – Drug Charges
In a criminal case there are also potential plea bargains. I had a client recently who was facing a second offense for distribution of marijuana in Bergen County. We appeared in court and I negotiated a plea deal for him at the pre-indictment conference which allowed him to receive probation instead of the mandatory jail time he was surely facing on a 2nd offense drug distribution offense. Had he been indicted that plea offer would have disappeared and there would have definitely been a state prison offer from the prosecutor.
Hire An Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer to Fight for You
The most important element in getting a good plea bargain is having an aggressive defense. Prosecutors are not going to give you a good deal unless they think that your defense attorneys are able to punch holes in their case. Your attorney needs to pose a threat in order to secure the best deal. If he or she can show that the case will probably be defeated even after a lengthy trial, the prosecutor will usually make a very reasonable offer.
No matter what the best strategy is in your case, having aggressive criminal trial lawyers in your corner is the best way to get a positive result in your case. Call The Tormey Law Firm today for a free consultation regarding your case. (201) 556-1571
For more information about plea bargains, Wikipedia is a good place to do some research.