A criminal charge can be a life-altering experience. Whether it is for drug possession or fraud, assault or murder, a criminal charge can change the way a New Jersey resident lives their life and experiences their rights. As soon as they are charged, they can choose to work with criminal defense attorneys to support their defense strategies.
Often a criminal defendant and their lawyer will negotiate with prosecutors to change certain elements of their case. These negotiations can sometimes result in what are know as plea deals. A plea deal may reduce the charges a defendant will face or the sentence they will receive in exchange for their agreement to plead guilty.
This post will look at some of the elements of a criminal trial that can be negotiated. This post does not offer any advice to readers, and readers should know that not all criminal cases will have options for plea deals. They should talk to their attorneys about what efforts they can pursue to improve the outcomes of their own criminal matters.
Common negotiating topics in criminal cases
As mentioned, there are different elements of a criminal case that defendants can negotiate with prosecutors. Some of them are:
- Facts: A defendant may admit to certain facts outside of court in exchange for their prosecutor not presenting other facts during trial.
- Charges: One of the more common forms of negotiation, a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to avoid trial on a more serious charge.
- Sentencing: A defendant pleads guilty to a charge to obtain a more lenient sentence.
Plea deals may not be advisable for all individuals because not all defendants may be prepared to offer guilty pleas to any charges. Pleas deals should be considered in the greater context of a defendant’s overarching trial strategy.
Considerations before a criminal trial
As time passes and a defendant’s case draws closer, they and their attorney may strategize how best to protect their interests and rights. They may have confidence in their defense strategy and forego plea deals altogether. Others may hope to secure plea options in order to mitigate the consequences of possible convictions. After careful consultation with their criminal defense representative, a defendant can elect how they wish to support their legal rights.