How does plea bargaining work in a federal criminal case?

How does plea bargaining work in a federal criminal case?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2022 | Criminal Defense, Federal Crimes |

As a California resident facing a federal criminal charge, you may have valid concerns about the potential consequences you may face if that charge ends with a conviction. If the government has a particularly strong case against you, it may give you the option of taking a plea bargain in exchange for a lesser sentence or punishment.

Per the Offices of the United States Attorneys, a plea bargain gives you a chance to admit your participation in a particular crime without having your case go to trial. When you plead guilty, you admit your guilt and agree to have the judge issue you an appropriate sentence.

Why plea bargaining might make sense sometimes

If the government already has a strong case against you, it may save you time, money and stress to strike a plea bargain. In doing so, you avoid the legal and other costs associated with taking your case to trial. You also avoid risking facing even harsher punishment. A trial may also prove public and embarrassing, giving you another reason to try to avoid it.

Why prosecutors might consider plea bargains

A prosecutor may consider accepting a plea bargain because it saves the time and money that goes into a lengthy and complex trial. Plea bargains take away some of the burden on an already-stressed court system by making it so some cases never make their way to trial.

Whether accepting a plea bargain is in your best interests depends on several factors, such as the severity of the penalties you face and how much merit the government’s case has.