Can the Defense Offer a Plea Agreement?

When it comes to plea agreements, there is no hard and fast rule concerning who might offer the agreement. The reason that plea agreements are used so frequently is because they allow for cases to be resolved without the cost of a jury trial. That means that the prosecution as well as the defense have to spend less time on the case, but it also means there is a bit of room for negotiation. Defendants should note that a judge is under no obligation to accept a plea bargain, so if the defense does create one, it should serve the reformation needs of the defendant as well as the restitution needs of the victim and the time spent by the legal system.

Pros of Defense Plea Agreements

In many situations, it’s a good idea for the defense attorney to offer a plea agreement rather than waiting for prosecution to do it. However, the two parties normally come together to negotiate the terms of the plea agreement.

In cases such as the one involving Ariel Castro, the man who kidnapped and kept three women under horrific circumstances, the defense attorney knew it was best to simply offer a plea agreement in order to avoid costs that would have been needless. The evidence was too strong to avoid a conviction, so the plea agreement offered the defense a way to negotiate the terms of a guilty plea without the burden of all the legwork involved in a jury trial. The benefit to the defendant was that of making cooperation obvious, thus avoiding a more stringent sentence, like the death penalty.

In such cases, there are often penalties that wouldn’t normally be a part of a sentence. For example, Castro agreed to have his house demolished in an effort to avoid constantly reminding the community of the event or causing property values to plummet.

Pros of Prosecution Plea Agreements

Obviously, when a prosecutor offers a plea agreement, it saves the taxpayers untold amounts of money, but it also benefits the defense team and the defendant. The very existence of a plea agreement from the prosecution means that the prosecution is willing to negotiate something other than a full sentence the defendant might receive if the case went to a jury trial. It also means that the defense has a starting point.

A plea agreement is like any other contract. Both parties negotiate and they each try to come out with the best deal. In the case of a plea agreement, the defense gets an idea of how much room they have to negotiate with prosecution. In some cases, if the defense had presented the plea agreement, the defendant may have gotten a harsher sentence than if he or she had waited to see what the prosecution had to offer.

If you need plea bargain services or any other kind of legal services, contact the Federal Criminal Law Group by calling 1-866-719-3420 or use the Contact Us form on the website.