Increased Use of Plea Bargains Due to Coronavirus

North Carolina is currently under s State of Emergency. As a result of this declaration, Chief Justice Beasley has issued Orders that have restricted the normal operation of the North Carolina Courts. As a result of this many criminal matters are being rescheduled until a date after June 1, 2020. There is no definitive list for what is presently not being heard before North Carolina District Court and it is important that you contact an attorney to discuss how the Coronavirus pandemic is affecting your criminal case. In this current Coronavirus court closure, plea bargains may be offered more quickly and more often than usual, to eliminate a backlog of prosecutions once the courts resume regular operations. If you are currently considering a plea bargain in your criminal case, it is important that you consult with an experienced criminal attorney, as soon as possible, to discuss your options. Contact our Charlotte criminal defense firm today to schedule your free initial consultation.

What is a plea bargain?

Plea bargains are agreements between prosecutors and defendants. In a plea bargain, a defendant agrees to plead guilty, or no contest, to lesser charges, or a portion of the charges in exchange for a concession from the prosecutor. These concessions are usually related to the punishment that the defendant will receive. Not all plea bargains simply require a guilty plea. Some plea bargains may require further action from the defendant such as testifying for the prosecutor in other cases. Plea bargains are an effective tool to avoid lengthy trials and secure lesser punishment. However, plea bargains should not be entered into lightly and deserve serious consideration and discussions. You should not enter a plea bargain without discussing it with an experienced criminal defense attorney. The criminal defenses attorneys are Arnold & Smith, PLLC have tremendous experience with plea bargains and are ready to review plea bargains and discuss your options with you.

Increased use of plea bargains

According to a report by the Innocence Project, ninety-seven percent (97%) of criminal cases, both federal and state, are resolved through the use of plea bargains. Given this increased use of plea bargains, it is vital to have a skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney on your side, especially an attorney with experience negotiating plea bargains. It is important to remember that you do not have to take a plea bargain and you always have the constitutionally protected right to go to trial, under the Sixth Amendment.

When are plea bargains used?

Although plea bargains are more prevalent, they are not always offered or used. Many factors exist that come into play when a plea bargain is offered to a defendant. These factors include:

  • The amount of evidence against a defendant
  • The severity of the offense or offenses
  • Your prior criminal record
  • Any defenses available to you that your attorney can present

Regardless of why you are offered a plea bargain, or if you are considering a plea bargain, you should consult with a competent criminal defense attorney to discuss all the factors and options available to you.

Why should I consider a plea bargain?

There are many reasons to consider a plea bargain rather than electing to exercise your right to trial. This is a decision that you should discuss with your attorney before making any choices. Factors to consider in why you should consider a plea bargain include:

  • Lesser sentences
  • Avoiding lengthy delays
  • Lower costs
  • Giving yourself more control over the outcome of your case
  • Less severe punishments and fines

It is necessary that you fully understand the rights you may be waiving when you enter a plea bargain with prosecutors. Our knowledgeable attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC have the skills and experience to assist you in understanding all rights and issues at play when considering a plea bargain. Our attorneys are ready and able to assist with negotiating plea bargains as well should you elect to proceed that way after thorough discussions with your attorney. When you discuss your options with our attorneys it is not only important that we be aware of the charges and history, but your attorney needs to know about your current situation. This includes but is not limited to your financial situation, your family situation, your prior criminal arrest history, your employment, your community resources, and your mental and substance abuse situations, if any.

Our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys can help

If you are facing criminal charges and have been offered a plea bargain, or are considering a plea bargain, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at 704.370.2828 or online today to schedule your free initial consultation.