If you're about to be charged with a criminal offense, you might receive an offer for a plea bargain from the prosecution. However, you must speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney before accepting or rejecting an offer because sometimes plea bargains aren't the best option. Each case is different, of course, but you must be sure of what you're getting into whether you choose to bargain or wait out a trial.
A plea bargain can end a case and avoid a drawn-out and possibly traumatic trial. However, a plea bargain also tells the court that if you're charged with a lesser offense, you're not going to defend yourself against it -- and that brands you with a criminal record. As frightening as that sounds, there are times where that's actually better than trying to get through a trial and be acquitted.
If you're guilty, and there's overwhelming evidence that you're guilty, a plea bargain can be a good thing. Basically, the prosecution offers you a deal that ends the case, avoids a trial, and protects you from having the outcome of the case used against you in civil court. It's as if the prosecution is saying, "Look, we'll go easier on you if you just accept these lesser charges." Depending on the deal offered, that could be a lot better than going through a trial that you know will end up with you being convicted.
However, that is not always true. If the plea bargain doesn't result in an acceptable reduction in sentencing and charges, it might not be worth it, especially if the prosecution's case is shaky. For people who are not guilty, even if the trial is traumatic, it might be better to go through it if the defense can protect you and the prosecution doesn't really have a good case.
If you accept a plea bargain in this case, even for a drastically reduced sentence, you're stuck with a criminal record. That can drastically affect your chances of succeeding in the rest of your life. Your life would change in very frustrating ways.
Always talk to a good criminal defense attorney from a firm like Crosby Legal, PLLC before dealing with plea bargains. The court should appoint an attorney for you if you can't afford one. There is no reason to simply do what the prosecution says. Protect yourself and your future by working with a good attorney.