It is fairly common for criminal matters to be resolved through a plea agreement, where the accused pleads guilty in exchange for a potentially lighter sentence than what could be imposed should the matter go to trial. For the accused, the decision to accept a plea deal is critical. It may have long lasting implications both on one’s criminal record and the ability to obtain certain jobs.
Because of this, there are a number of questions that should be answered when considering a plea offer. This post will identify some of them.
Will a conviction remain on my record? – Indeed, a plea agreement may help you avoid jail time, but will it also leave you with a conviction permanently imbedded onto your criminal record? This is an important consideration because a future criminal charge could be enhanced.
What are the chances of success at trial? – Knowing how strong the prosecution’s case against you is a principal consideration, because if you lose at trial, you will have to face the consequences; which may include jail time.
Is there a pre-plea investigation? – In some instances, the probation department will conduct an investigation before a plea is accepted so that both the prosecution and the court will have an idea of what an acceptable plea will be.
Will it be possible to expunge my record? – Depending on the crime, an expungement may be possible, but the plea may have to include an agreement with the prosecutor that the matter will be vacated and dismissed after certain conditions are met.