If you are charged with a crime in California, you are entitled to seek a trial. However, depending on the facts of your case, you may be offered a plea deal to settle the case outside of court. Although there may be many benefits to accepting a plea deal, some contend that too many cases are resolved in such a manner.
Does accepting a plea deal mean that you admit guilt?
Agreeing to a plea deal may allow you to avoid jail time or other potentially serious penalties. However, it also means that you have a conviction on your record, and this may make it harder to find a job or buy a home. It’s also important to note that not everyone who takes a deal is actually guilty of a crime.
Why would someone agree to a plea deal if they aren’t guilty?
In some cases, accepting a plea means that a person gets to go back home to a child, elderly parent or someone else who depends on them. It also eliminates the possibility that a defendant might be convicted of a felony charge or another serious crime even if the evidence suggests that someone else may have committed it.
How often are innocent people convicted of a crime?
It’s estimated that up to 20% of those who are wrongly convicted were given a plea deal. A wrongful conviction may occur for a variety of reasons such as a lack of DNA evidence or other information that may make it harder for a criminal defense attorney to adequately represent their client.
If you are convicted of a crime, you may spend time in jail, pay a fine or lose driving privileges. Penalties may be enhanced if you have been convicted of a criminal offense in the past. You may be allowed to appeal a conviction if you believe that biased testimony or other errors interfered with your right to due process.