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Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC Feb. 27, 2023

How to Get the Best Plea Bargain

Many people are familiar with the concept of plea bargaining in the criminal justice system. A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and defense that allows an accused person to plead guilty to a lesser offense or accept a reduced sentence in exchange for not going to trial. 

However, accepting just any plea bargain is not a wise decision, which is why you need to understand what you can do to get the best plea bargain possible. At the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC, our criminal defense attorney helps individuals facing criminal charges negotiate favorable plea bargains tailored to their specific circumstances and goals.  

From our office in Westchester County, New York, we also represent clients with criminal cases in surrounding areas, including Harrison, Yonkers, and White Plains.  

Overview of Plea Bargains  

A plea bargain is a negotiation between a defendant and the prosecution in a criminal case. It is an agreement that allows the defendant to plead guilty to a lesser charge or fewer charges than originally charged in exchange for a more lenient sentence. 

According to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, an estimated 97% of all criminal cases in the country are resolved through plea bargaining.  

Plea bargains can be made before or during the trial. Before the trial, prosecutors often offer defendants plea deals where they can plead guilty in exchange for reduced charges or sentences. During the trial, if both sides believe that it would be beneficial for the accused to accept responsibility for their actions rather than face further legal proceedings, they may negotiate for an acceptable outcome outside of court. There are three types of plea bargains: charge bargaining, count bargaining, and sentence bargaining.  

Preparing the Best Plea Bargain  

If you are considering pursuing a plea bargain, it’s important that you understand what you can do to prepare the best plea bargain. Preparing the best possible plea bargain will usually consist of the following steps: 

  1. Seek legal counsel. The first step in preparing for the best plea bargain is seeking legal counsel from an experienced criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you navigate through any potential pitfalls and advise you on the most effective way of proceeding with negotiations. They will also be able to provide guidance on applicable state and federal laws concerning your case.  

  1. Get the facts straight. Before entering negotiations, make sure that you get all your facts straight so that you can present them clearly and accurately during negotiations. This includes any evidence or documentation related to your case such as police reports, witness statements, or anything else relevant to your defense. Having all of this information readily available will help ensure that you are fully prepared when it comes time for negotiations.  

  1. Weigh the pros and cons of accepting vs. not accepting a plea bargain. The next step is to weigh the pros and cons of accepting versus not accepting a plea bargain. Consider what risks you may face if you do accept a plea deal and compare those with what risks may be associated with going through trial proceedings instead. You should also consider what would happen if either option were successful or unsuccessful. This process will help ensure that the decision to accept or not accept a plea bargain is made with full knowledge of both sides of the situation.  

  1. Understand applicable laws and regulations. In order to negotiate effectively, it’s imperative that you understand applicable state and federal laws concerning your case so that you know exactly what you are negotiating over and what outcome you want to achieve. By understanding these laws ahead of time, you can enter into negotiations with more confidence knowing that you are ready for whatever outcome may come out of your negotiations.  

  1. Determine your goals and best interests. The final step in preparing for the best plea bargain involves determining what goals or outcomes would best suit your interests once all other considerations have been taken into account, including applicable laws, potential sentences, costs/fees associated with pleading guilty or going through trial proceedings, etc. This will ensure that when negotiations begin, you will know exactly where you stand on each issue being discussed without having any confusion about what you want out of the agreement before accepting a plea bargain.  

Preparing for the best possible plea bargain requires careful consideration on multiple levels in order to reach a favorable outcome. Consider contacting an attorney to discuss your particular situation and determine your best course of action.  

Don’t Face Your Case Alone  

If you are considering negotiating a plea bargain in your criminal case, you need an experienced attorney to help you understand your options for getting the best possible plea bargain for your case. Our criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Michael D. Litman, PLLC can advise you as to the strengths or weaknesses of your case and help you negotiate with prosecutors for better terms. Reach out to our office for a free consultation.  


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