Home > Insights > Legal Tips > Plea Bargain Consequences

Plea Bargain Consequences

by | Aug 3, 2021

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the prosecution may offer you a plea deal. Depending on the circumstances, a plea bargain can provide you with specific benefits such as a lesser sentence — and the certainty of knowing what your penalty will be. But no matter how favorable the plea deal you’ve been offered might seem, it’s crucial to understand the potential consequences.

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement made between the defendant in a criminal case and the prosecution. When a defendant accepts a plea deal, they are willing to plead guilty to reduced charges or a lesser offense. Typically, a plea bargain is reached after negotiations between the defendant’s attorney and the prosecutor.

Since courts are often overwhelmed with hundreds of cases and a criminal trial can last from several days up to a few months, plea bargains are used to help reduce the burden on the court. But they can also save a defendant time and money — and potentially result in a better outcome than would be obtained at trial.      

The Benefits of Accepting a Plea Bargain

Once you accept a plea bargain and appear before the court on the record, your case is effectively over. You won’t need to proceed to trial or have your case heard by a jury. A plea bargain can be entered into at any time up to the date of trial. However, the judge must still approve the plea bargain and decide the sentence.

There are several benefits to accepting a plea bargain. In some cases, you may be able to serve less time in prison. You might also be able to avoid jail entirely and be sentenced to probation or community service. Additionally, a plea bargain can mean fewer or less serious offenses on your criminal record which is important if you’ve had prior convictions — or are charged with another crime in the future. For high-profile or well-known individuals, a plea bargain can help them avoid the negative publicity that can come with a trial.     

Disadvantages of Accepting a Plea Bargain

Despite the predictability a plea bargain can offer, you must be aware of the impact it can have on your life and livelihood. Although it can lead to a faster resolution, by entering into a plea deal, you are giving up three essential rights that are afforded to you under the Constitution. Specifically, when you accept a plea bargain, you forego the right to:

  • Confront your accuser
  • Have your case heard before a jury
  • Not incriminate yourself

Critically, when you accept a plea bargain, you are required to confess to the crime and plead guilty. In doing so, your life could be affected in many more ways than by serving time in jail.

Since you will have a conviction on your record by entering into a plea bargain, it’s vital to carefully consider the potential collateral consequences. For instance, a plea bargain could adversely impact your ability to hold specific types of jobs or choose certain housing. If you are a student, plea bargaining can result in loss of financial aid. Depending on the circumstances, a plea bargain could also affect immigration status, as well as your right to adopt or foster a child.   

Contact an Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorney

Entering into a plea bargain is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Depending on the facts of your case and the evidence against you, it may be in your best interests to go to trial. A skilled criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and advise you regarding the best course of action. The criminal defense attorneys at D’Emilia Law offer high-quality counsel and vigorous representation for those who have been charged with a wide variety of offenses and are dedicated to working toward the best possible outcome for every client. To schedule a consultation, contact us at 1-888-DEMILIA.  

plea bargain
Ghost Gun

Understanding New York’s Ghost Gun Laws

New York has some of the toughest firearms laws in the nation. While strict penalties are imposed for possessing an unregistered firearm, legislation was enacted in 2022 that strengthened the state’s laws regarding ghost guns. These types of guns are those that do not...
Search Warrant

What is a Search Warrant? 

Most people are aware that the police are usually prohibited from searching a premises or person without a warrant under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. A search warrant is a court order issued for the purpose of authorizing law enforcement to conduct a...

Is a Warrantless Search Ever Permissible?

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from unlawful searches and seizures by law enforcement. As a general rule, before police can search your person, home, or vehicle, they must have probable cause for the search — and obtain a valid...
Subway Self-Defense

NYC Subway Incident Raises Complex Legal Questions Regarding Self-Defense

The recent New York City subway incident that resulted in the death of Jordan Neely made headlines throughout the nation. While there are still many facts that are not yet known, and various issues that will need to be determined at trial, the case raises many...

What is Possession of a Controlled Substance?

Possession of a controlled substance is a serious crime in New York that can come with severe consequences. Many of these offenses are charged as felonies and can come with a lengthy prison term, steep fines, and long-term ramifications. Not only can a conviction...
Drug Possession

What Defenses Can Be Used in a Drug Possession Case?

If you face charges for possession of a controlled substance, it’s crucial to understand that an arrest does not mean a conviction. While this offense is taken very seriously in New York, there are several defense strategies that can be used to fight the charges...
Marijuana DWAI

3 Important Things to Know About Marijuana DWAIs in New York

Many people are familiar with New York’s strict laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol. However, it’s critical to be aware that the state also imposes harsh penalties on those who have been found guilty of driving under the influence of marijuana —...
DWI Mistakes

Common Mistakes to Avoid Making in Your DWI Case

A DWI is a serious matter in New York. While these situations can be stressful and overwhelming, many people are not sure what they should do or how they should proceed. Critically, there are certain mistakes that are commonly made which could impact your case and...
Impaired Driver Program

What is the New York State Impaired Driver Program?

A consequence of a DWI conviction in New York can be license suspension or revocation. Losing your license, even temporarily, can have a substantial impact on your life and livelihood. However, if you qualify for the Impaired Driver Program — formerly known as the...
DWI Attorney

5 Common Legal Defenses to DWIs in New York

A DWI is a serious criminal offense in New York that can come with life-changing penalties. If you’ve been charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, it’s crucial to have an experienced DWI attorney who can fight the charges on your behalf. A skilled...