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Negotiating a Plea Deal

Just like the terms suggests, a plea bargain serves as a type of negotiation between the parties involved with the case, specifically between the prosecution team overseeing the case and the defense team representing the defendant. Working out a plea deal is an important skill for a criminal defense lawyer.

plea deal discussion between lawyer and client

The Parties Involved

Depending on the crime being charged against the defendant, the prosecution team will generally be seeking the maximum penalty for the crime in question. This does not necessarily mean the prosecution team has any personal vendetta against the defendant. They have a duty to seek the appropriate punishment for the crime in question.

The defense team, specifically the defense attorney, opposes the prosecution by seeking the best result for their client. Ideally, that would be getting the case thrown out or getting the charges dropped, but in some situations, they have to settle for the lightest punishment possible. As with prosecutors, the defense attorney should ideally seek the best result for their clients, even if they do not personally like or agree with their client’s actions. Punishment is still punishment but the severity of that punishment is often negotiable.

How the Process Works

As with any kind of negotiation, the plea bargain process can involve a lot of back-and-forth talks between the prosecution team and the defense team. Since both parties want the best result for their side, and since that desired result cannot be achieved simultaneously by both sides, the plea bargain process allows for both sides to negotiate a result both sides can agree upon. The result is a plea deal that is often less severe for the defendant.

For example, say a defendant has been charged with a crime that carries the maximum penalty result of 20 years in prison. With the understanding that the prosecution team has a strong case on their side, the defense team might offer a guilty plea on behalf of their client but request 10 years citing the defendant’s cooperation with the case.

The prosecution may like some parts of the deal but want more jail time, at which point they would make a counteroffer. This process could go back and forth until both sides come to an agreement. If the defense knows the prosecution has a weak case, they would articulate that to the prosecution. They could use that information to gain a greater bargaining position on behalf of their client. However, if the prosecution has a very strong case against the defendant, they might decide to ignore any plea bargain offers by the defense.

Plea Bargaining

If you’ve ever engaged in business negotiations, you understand that talks between multiple parties can occur in any location. Plea bargain negotiations can occur in any location, in formal settings such as a judge’s chambers, the district attorney’s office, or at an office lunch table. In fact, such negotiations do not even require the physical presence of the prosecution and the defense. They can communicate over the phone, through email correspondence, or by virtual teleconferencing.

There’s also no formal time requirement for how long the negotiations may take. Court appearances may not even need to occur.

Contact Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer David Clarke

If you have been charged with a crime, contact experienced criminal defense attorney David Clarke. With many years of experience and a solid working relationship with local prosecution, Attorney Clarke is well aware of how to negotiate a plea deal. When you need a solid defense, contact the Clarke Law Firm at 615-796-6299 today.