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Don't accept a plea deal before you read this

Have you been offered a plea deal in your criminal case?

Prosecutors typically look to resolve as many criminal cases as they can with a plea bargain for a few simple reasons:

  • It guarantees them a win because taking the plea deal requires you to admit your guilt.
  • It's budget-friendly because it saves the government the cost of your trial.
  • It's schedule-friendly because the prosecutor is then free to move on to other cases and the court doesn't have another case on its backlog.

But, is a plea deal really in your best interest? Most of the time, defendants accept plea deals simply because they feel like it is the quickest way back home and back to their normal lives -- especially if the plea doesn't involve additional jail time. A lot of the time, they may be right.

However, studies show that 97 percent of federal criminal cases and 94 percent of state cases end in plea deals -- which is astonishing. Studies indicate that plea deals may greatly disadvantage people who are poor, people who suffer from mental illnesses, people who have problems with addiction, people who are afraid they can't get a fair trial and people who are simply scared.

Before you accept a plea deal, ask yourself the following questions:

Is this really what you want to do?

Remember, you'll be confessing to a crime. That criminal record may haunt your footsteps forever as you try to move on.

It could affect your personal relationships, your ability to run for public office, your ability to rent an apartment, your ability to move into certain careers and a number of other things -- for the rest of your life.

Is this even the best deal you can get?

If it's the prosecutor's first offer, it probably isn't. Most people step up to a bargaining table offering what they want, not what they actually expect to get.

However, you don't really have the skill to evaluate how good the offer being dangled in front of you really is. You also don't know exactly how to negotiate for something better. The prosecutor knows this.

Unless you've talked to a criminal defense attorney about your case and explored all the possible options, accepting a plea deal simply may not be a good idea.

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329 South Guadalupe Street
San Marcos, TX 78666

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