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How Plea Bargains Work


Plea bargains, sometimes called “plea deals” or “plea arrangements,” are agreements between defendants and the prosecution. These types of deals allow criminal cases to be settled before they go to trial. Plea bargaining alleviates a substantial burden from the court system. There is just no way our current judicial system could sustain every crime charged going to trial.

Plea arrangements are often the preferred option because they provide incentives for both parties. There are multiple reasons why the prosecution, as well as the defendant, might strike this kind of deal.

Reasons the prosecution might try to strike a plea deal –

  • The prosecution might get scared that you have a good chance of winning at trial
  • The prosecution wants to avoid a lengthy and costly trial

Reasons defendants often accept plea deals –

  • They are spared the uncertainty of taking their case to trial
  • They desire the reduced charge/lesser punishment or whatever incentive the prosecution is offering
  • They want to avoid the negative attention a criminal trial could draw

Either side has the opportunity to propose a plea deal. Here is an example of something that might happen in a drunk driving case. An attorney representing a man facing DUI charges contacts the prosecution to strike a plea deal. If there is undeniable evidence to convict his client of DUI, the attorney will likely propose that his client plead guilty in exchange for minimum penalties, such as probation in lieu of jail. In this scenario, the prosecution gets a guilty plea and the defendant gets the most favorable outcome possible.

At MayesTelles PLLC, our goal is to help all our clients avoid a conviction when possible. In some cases though, the most favorable option for our client is accepting a plea bargain. We only advise our clients to accept a plea deal after careful consideration of the evidence. If there is even a slight chance that our client could be acquitted at trial, we may reject a plea deal, have our client plead “not guilty”, and go to trial instead.

If you have been arrested and you need legal counsel you can trust, contact a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer at MayesTelles PLLC for a free consultation!

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