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9 Things Every Defendant Should Know About Plea Bargains

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“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney

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Most criminal cases end with a plea bargain, rather than a trial. If you are facing criminal charges, or if a loved one is charged with a crime, it is important to understand the fundamentals of the plea bargaining process, so that you can discuss your options intelligently with your criminal defense lawyer.

1. A plea bargain is a negotiated settlement.

Plea bargaining is the process of negotiating to resolve criminal charges without a trial. The resultant “plea bargain” is, essentially, an out-of-court settlement of a criminal case.

2. Two categories of plea bargains exist: charge bargains and sentence bargains.

A charge bargain is one in which the prosecutor agrees to dismiss or forego certain charges in return for your plea to other, lesser charges. A sentence bargain is one in which the prosecutor agrees to recommend a particular sentence or sentencing range. The prosecutor’s recommendation is simply that – a recommendation. It is not binding on the judge, and you cannot withdraw your guilty plea if the judge deviates from the recommendation at the time of sentencing. Thus, the value of a sentence bargain depends largely on the judge’s practice in deferring to prosecutors’ recommendations.

3. A guilty plea constitutes a waiver of constitutional rights.

When you agree to plead guilty, you also agree to give up (or “waive”) these constitutional rights: the right to a jury trial; the right to confront your accusers; and the right to remain silent and refuse to incriminate yourself.

4. A guilty plea must be made knowingly and voluntarily.

You will enter your plea at a hearing, presided over by a judge. The judge will question you to ensure that your plea is entered knowingly and voluntarily.

You will be asked:

•Questions concerning your mental competence.
•Questions concerning your satisfaction with your legal representation.
•Questions to ensure that you understand the legal rights you are surrendering by pleading guilty, including trial and appellate rights.
•Questions to ascertain your understanding of the penalties for conviction.
•Questions about the plea agreement and any other threats or promises made.
•Questions to assure the judge that there is some factual basis for your guilt.

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Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

5. A guilty plea counts as a criminal conviction.

A guilty plea entered as part of a plea bargain counts as a conviction, and you will be subject to all the collateral consequences that accompany a criminal conviction.

Depending on your situation, this might include:
•Immigration-related consequences;
•Employment-related consequences;
•Loss of professional licenses;
•Loss of voting privileges;
•Loss of driving privileges; and
•Loss of the right to possess firearms.

6. Juries are unpredictable.

No one can calculate precisely your chances of acquittal. However, certain factors may tip the scales and help you decide whether to take your chances at trial or strike a bargain. Factors to consider include:
•What are the witnesses going to say? Are they credible? Will they appeal to the jury?
•What physical evidence does the prosecution have? Was it lawfully obtained? Can it be suppressed?
•What is the prosecutor’s reputation?
•What is the maximum sentence you are facing if you are found guilty at trial?

7. Your decision may hinge on personal factors.

The decision to plead guilty or proceed to trial is unique to each individual.
In weighing your options, consider:
•Your age;
•Your appetite for risk;
•Your ability to endure a stressful trial;
•Your prior experience with prison, if any;
•Your family situation.

8. It is your decision.

The decision to plead guilty or go to trial belongs to you – not your lawyer, not the prosecutor, not the judge. The law places the final decision in your hands because you are the one who must live with it. Given the gravity of this decision, it is best made with the counsel of a trusted and experienced criminal defense lawyer.

9. Once your decision is made, it is difficult to undo.

After sentencing, you can withdraw your guilty plea only if you can demonstrate that it was made unknowingly and involuntarily.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

Experienced Phoenix DUI Attorney

Our mission is to help keep good people out of jail by balancing the criminal justice playing field so that each of our clients has a fighting chance to achieve realistic outcomes for their individual legal situations.

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Have you been involved in DUI? Contact an attorney today to protect your rights and freedoms. They can help you gain an understanding of the criminal defense legal process and learn about the options available to you. Create a thorough defense strategy to give you your best chances — Schedule a free consultation.

 

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If you need a DUI attorney in Arizona, Look for an experienced criminal defense law firm that can dedicate all of their time and resources to helping clients with criminal charges. Find a knowledgeable DUI attorney who is willing to educate and advocate through every step of the legal process. Future First Criminal Law will get to know your case and develop a strategy that will work best for you. Request a free consultation today.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

Allen Hsu, Attorney

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. It has been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”

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54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


J.S.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I hired Zachary after I found myself charged with a felony. He put me at ease right away and during the whole process he explained each step to where I understood everything and was always available for any questions I had. ”


S.N.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Zachary is a brilliant attorney, I highly recommend his company to resolve any legal/criminal matter satisfactorily. He still continue to work on my case to tie some loose ends. He is intelligent , prompt and a problem solver. I thank him a million times to protect my dignity and reputation.”


D.G.

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“I have had the pleasure of working with Mr. Divelbiss in the past and know him to be a hard working professional. His attention to detail and care for his clients set him apart from the rest!”


Joshua Black, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is a hard worker and will advocate for his clients with an attention to detail that you don’t see very often these days.”


Brandon White, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Attorney Divelbiss is bright, hard-working, and well-versed in criminal law. His legal writing is superb, and his commitment to his clients is outstanding. He will fight for you and offer you the best defense possible. Additionally, he is a pleasure to work with. I fully endorse this lawyer.”


Josephine Hallam, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss and I worked in the same office, although we were at different law firms. He was eager to learn and developed a reputation for honesty and zealous advocacy.”


Kristopher Califano, Attorney

54+ Five-Star Google Reviews

“Mr. Divelbiss is a GREAT attorney, very honest and reliable. He takes his times with every client and answers all questions and concerns. Is been a pleasure working with Mr. Divelbiss and he serves his clients very well!”


Allen Hsu, Attorney