Tomorrow, Attorney Jessica G. D'Varga will be presenting to the Ohio State Bar Association on the topic of Plea Bargaining. Plea bargaining is one of the most important aspects of practicing criminal law because over 90% of criminal cases resolve in some sort of plea agreement. Having a thorough understanding of plea bargaining is a crucial part of criminal defense.
What do you need to understand about plea bargaining?
- A plea agreement is a process whereby a criminal defendant and a prosecutor reach a mutually satisfactory disposition, subject to the judge's approval. Plea agreements usually result in either an amendment to a lesser charge or dismissal of some charges in exchange for a guilty plea to other charges.
- A prosecutor has no legal obligation to engage in plea bargaining.
- Your defense attorney must engage in plea bargaining if you so choose.
- Your defense attorney MUST present any and all plea offers the prosecutor may suggest to you.
- You have the absolute right to either accept or reject a plea offer.
- A judge must approve a plea offer, and is still in charge of sentencing. Your attorney should have a good idea of how a judge will pass sentence on you prior to your acceptance or rejection of a plea offer.
- Your attorney should advise you as to your options and potential outcomes of your choice. This advice should be based not only on your probability of success at trial, but also on other considerations such as sentencing factors, financial considerations and time considerations.
Plea bargaining is an integral part of our justice system. Make sure you fully understand your rights and are comfortable with your attorney before making your decision. Contact The Law Offices of Saia & Piatt, Inc. if you need experienced and accomplished defense counsel.