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Why do prosecutors offer plea deals (and should you take one)?

On Behalf of | May 20, 2021 | Criminal Defense

If you were to go off what you see depicted on television, you’d assume that most criminal cases ended up going to trial. That’s far from the reality, though. Statistics show that about 90% of all criminal cases end with a plea deal. 

There are various reasons why prosecutors might offer you a plea deal and why you might choose to accept it. Knowing these reasons may help you make an informed decision if you’re offered a deal.

Why do prosecutors offer plea deals?

Prosecutors often offer plea deals in hopes of reducing their workload. Cases can take time to prepare. Prosecutors much rather focus their attention on prosecuting their more serious cases. 

One decision that often dictates whether prosecutors file charges against a defendant is how confident they are in their ability to secure a conviction. They may offer you a plea deal if the evidence they’ve amassed is largely circumstantial instead of potentially losing their case at trial. 

Why do defendants often accept plea deals?

Preparing a case for trial and litigation costs can be expensive, so money may be a factor. Many defendants also find comfort in knowing the outcome in their case instead of leaving it to chance. These are two reasons why defendants often agree to plea deals when prosecutors offer them. 

What types of plea deals are offered?

A prosecutor may offer one of two different plea deals. One may involve you pleading guilty to one crime in exchange for you not having to confess to others. Prosecutors may also offer a deal that allows you to plead guilty to a lesser offense than the one they initially charged you with in exchange for not going to trial. 

Should you consider accepting a plea deal in your case?

Only you can decide whether you’re willing to take chances at trial or if you want to agree to a plea deal that allows you to better control your fate. A criminal defense attorney can provide guidance as you evaluate the strengths of the prosecution’s case and the defense strategies you can employ. Knowing more about these can help you plan ahead.