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Should I consider a plea bargain for felony charges?

Most people in Ohio have heard about plea bargains, but some are not familiar with the term's precise meaning. Attorneys can fill an important educational role by offering information about plea bargaining.

Over the decades, plea bargaining has come to be a valuable tool for both courts and defense clients. This is especially so in the case of felonies, which could lead to extremely harsh penalties for the defendant. Today, most criminal cases do not make it to trial. Instead, these cases are resolved through accepting the prosecution's plea bargain.

Even defendants who maintain that they are innocent often accept plea bargains, particularly if their situation appears dire. Following are some of the top reasons you might choose to consider a plea bargain.

Reduced charges: Often, a plea deal results in lesser charges. This means your permanent record will look better. This could benefit you if you should face charges again in the future.

Reduced sentence: Another attractive benefit of plea bargaining is having your sentenced reduced. This will result in a shorter jail sentence and less of an impact on your freedom.

High risk of conviction: If your attorney believes your case looks dire, he or she might suggest accepting a plea deal. Ultimately, this trades the risk of the unknown for a sense of certainty about the penalties you may face.

Reduced publicity: Plea bargains typically proceed much faster than a trial. This offers defendants less time in the spotlight as well as the benefits of a faster resolution.

Regardless of your decision, having experienced legal representation is essential to dealing with felony charges.

Source: FindLaw, "Defense Plea Bargains," accessed July 28, 2015

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