Pros and Cons of Accepting a Plea Bargain

Gavel depicting plea bargain

Are you or is a loved one facing criminal charges? Have you received a plea deal from the prosecutor which you feel pressured to accept?

If so, you are experiencing what 90% of people who face criminal charges experience. Only about 10% of criminal cases go to trial.

If you have any experience with the criminal justice system, you probably know that plea bargains account for the vast majority of how cases are resolved.

In fact, this is why prosecutors often pile on multiple charges for one crime. This practice increases their chances of obtaining a conviction.

What Is A Plea Bargain?

If you don’t have any experience with the criminal justice system, it might come as a surprise to you that plea bargains have such an important role.

We think of criminal trials because trials are publicized. A plea bargain is a deal offered to you by the state in exchange for your “guilty” or “no contest” plea.

Often, defendants are charged with so many different charges which each carry so many potential penalties that pleading guilty to one lesser charge with a small sentence seems safe by comparison.

The state is betting on the idea that no one would want to risk such terrible consequences by going to trial.

Plea bargains can serve an essential function for everyone involved. However, they can also work against you if you want to prove actual innocence of the crime for which you’ve been charged.

Incentives for Accepting a Plea Bargain

Here’s one fact every defendant needs to remember: prosecutors are paid by the state to achieve convictions.

Once you have been arrested for a crime, it’s assumed you are guilty.

Prosecutors and, many times, judges will treat you accordingly. A prosecutor isn’t bound by law to restrict the number of charges he or she can pile on for one criminal act, and he isn’t your advocate. His job is to secure a conviction in your case.

The easiest way to do this is through plea bargaining. Plea deals get cases through the system quickly and off of prosecutors’ and judge’s desks.

In some cases, plea deals can keep the prison system from overcrowding by offering defendants alternative sentencing. Most importantly though, plea deals secure convictions. It’s easy to see why these deals are so attractive to the state.

Public Defenders

For public defenders, plea deals can also come as a welcome relief. Many public defenders are overloaded with cases. They don’t have the resources or the time to litigate every case they get.

If a public defender is representing you, the chances are good that you will be encouraged to accept a plea deal instead of taking your case to trial.

Remember, it doesn’t mean your defender doesn’t want to help you. In most cases, your defender has a good idea of your chances if you were to insist on a trial.

Private Defense Attorneys

Private defense attorneys have the least incentive to accept plea deals. Not only do we have more resources and fewer cases, but we have more experience arguing cases in trial.

However, this doesn’t mean your private defense attorney wouldn’t advise you to accept a plea deal if he felt it was in your best interest.

A plea deal might offer the chance of leaving the situation without a criminal charge on your record. A plea bargain is also much cheaper than a lengthy trial.

Bargaining In Practice

The decision to accept a plea bargain is a big one. It’s stressful for you and your loved ones.

You may be forced to plead guilty to something you didn’t do, or to something you felt was mischaracterized by police or prosecutors.

In addition, your past convictions can often work against you.

In this stressful time, the best thing you can do is to have an experienced criminal attorney to advise you and work for you.

Even if you are inclined to accept the first plea bargain being offered to you, talk it over with your lawyer. He or she may be able to negotiate a better deal than the state initially offered.

No matter what, you should understand what you’re doing before agreeing to a plea bargain.


Plea bargains make up 90% of criminal cases in this country. The chances are good that if you’re facing criminal charges, the pieces are arranged so that you will accept the plea deal the prosecutor is offering. Before you take it, remember that it’s the prosecutor’s job to convict you.

Contact Detroit Criminal Attorney David J. Kramer Today

Reach out today. I will make sure you are getting the best possible deal. I will also help you understand all the ramifications of accepting a bargain before you do.

Let’s Get Started!