California residents like you who face down a harsh conviction may have heard the term “plea bargain”. Some people will argue that this is a helpful tool. Others will say that it creates problems for those on trial.
Despite being divisive, plea bargains have a place in court. Whether it benefits you or not, you must understand the pros and cons before making a decision.
The cons of plea bargains
Cornell Law School looks at both sides of a plea bargain. First, plea bargains are a somewhat controversial measure. Some commentators believe that plea bargains allow guilty defendants to shirk responsibility. Meanwhile, critics think plea bargains are unfair to innocents.
Others think that they are too coercive and underhanded. These critics state that plea bargains undermine constitutional rights. These are the right to a jury trial, the right to confront witnesses and the right against self-incrimination. You must waive them before accepting a plea bargain. But you can only do this if you understand and agree to the consequences.
The pros of plea bargains
For benefits, the biggest one is that you can escape more dire consequences in exchange for pleading guilty to a less severe charge. Sometimes, a legal professional may say there is a very slim chance of avoiding a guilty sentence. In these cases, plea bargains may work to your advantage.
Plea bargains also conserve resources. You do not have to go through the process of a trial. This means you do not have to pay for an extensive court case, and neither will the prosecution. In this way, it benefits everyone.