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What should you know before deciding about a plea bargain?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2024 | Criminal Defense |

If you are facing a drug possession charge in Wisconsin, the prosecutor could offer you a plea bargain. This involves pleading guilty, sometimes to a lesser charge, in exchange for a lesser sentence.

While a plea deal is often tempting, there are some important factors to consider first.

Look at the evidence

Review the evidence the prosecution has against you. Is it strong enough to likely result in a conviction at trial? If the evidence seems quite strong, a plea bargain may be wise. However, when the prosecution’s case is weaker, it might be in your best interest to go to court.

Consider the sentence

Plea bargains usually result in a lighter sentence than you would get if convicted at trial, often because you plead to a lesser charge than the original case. Make sure that you look closely at the deal before you agree to it. For example, you should understand if you will still face jail time as part of the agreement. You might also want to know if there are any requirements for probation or fines. Make sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to before you sign the agreement and enter a guilty plea in court.

Think long term

A guilty plea creates a criminal record that can impact the rest of your life. This can negatively affect future employment, housing, loans and more. Be sure the shorter sentence is worth having a record, especially if you have a chance to fight the charges with a sound defense.

Plea bargains offer an opportunity for a predictable resolution for your case, even if it means ending up with a criminal record. Every case is unique, but carefully weighing these factors will help you make the right choice for your situation. With proper consideration, even a possession charge does not have to lead to years behind bars.