What To Consider Before Accepting a Plea Deal
If you were charged with a crime, the prosecutor may offer you a plea bargain in exchange for you pleading guilty. A plea deal may sound like a good deal at first. You can get your case over quicker and move on with your life and avoid the expenses of going to trial. However, you shouldn’t accept a plea deal without carefully thinking it over first. While there are benefits to accepting a plea, there are also consequences. Before you agree to a plea deal, consider the following points:
Prison Or Jail Time Can Affect Your Life
If your plea deal involves any prison or jail time, you should stop and think how that might impact your life. For one thing, if you have a job, your employer may likely let you go if you are away in prison or jail for a while. When you are released, you will have to look for a completely different job. Also, when you are incarcerated, you will have to ask someone to take care of your children, pay your bills or watch over your house.
You Will Have a Criminal Record
Even if your plea deal doesn’t involve any prison or jail time, you will still have a criminal record. This is a big deal and limit your future opportunities in many ways. For example, many employers conduct background checks these days and may be reluctant to hire someone with a criminal records. More and more landlords are also conducting background checks on prospective tenants and refuse to rent to anyone with a record. They may worry that a convicted felon may pose a threat to the building and other tenants. Having a conviction can also affect your voting rights, gun ownership rights and ability to get loans.
You May Not Be Able to Appeal
If you accept a plea deal, you will most likely give up your right to appeal your case in the future. It’s important to discuss what this means with your criminal lawyer before you say yes to the plea bargain.
There May Be Immigrant Consequences
If you are an immigrant, you have to be especially careful about accepting a plea deal. If you plead guilty to certain offenses, you may lose your opportunity to become a citizen in the future. Talk about how pleading guilty can affect your immigration status with your criminal lawyer.
As you can see, there are many factors you have to consider before you say yes to a plea deal. All of this can be very overwhelming, so it’s important to discuss your concerns with an experienced criminal defense attorney Fairfax, VA residents trust. He or she can go over the pros and cons of accepting a plea deal and help you make the right decision. Having a trusted lawyer on your side can make things a little easier. Many criminal lawyers offer free initial consultations, so it doesn’t hurt to speak to one.
Thank you to our friend and contributor Dave Albo – Attorney for his insight into criminal defense and plea deals.