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The process of plea bargaining

People accused of committing crimes in New Jersey might benefit from understanding more about how plea bargains work. While some argue that defendants often agree to plea bargains out of ignorance or fear, there are several benefits to reaching a settlement agreement with the prosecution. Some of the common benefits defendants receive by reaching a plea bargain include avoiding the publicity and complications that come with trial, avoiding the stigma associated with some sentencing and receiving reduced sentencing.

Defendants may also be able to obtain reduced charges by accepting a plea deal. Some people that choose this strategy prefer the certainty over the risks associated with going to trial. Some people prefer plea agreements because they are able to resolve the legal issues expeditiously, while others be able to avoid serving time behind bars altogether. For many people, avoiding the separation from family and friends may be the primary motivation for wanting to avoid jail-time and accept a plea bargain.

People often benefit from obtaining reduced charges because the offense may seem less egregious on their permanent record. A reduction in charges may also have a lesser impact on any other convictions that may occur in the future. While it's typically not as advantageous as reduced charges, a reduction in sentencing may save the defendant several years behind bars. Generally speaking, people prefer a plea bargain because it can be an effective remedy for getting back into a normal routine.

People who have been accused of committing a crime might benefit from consulting an attorney who provides defense representation to those facing criminal charges. Legal counsel may be able to investigate the allegations and help determine the most viable defense strategy going forward. Even when a defendant cannot be acquitted or have their case dismissed, lawyers may still be successful at negotiating a favorable plea agreement with prosecutors.

Source: FindLaw, "Defense Plea Bargains", accessed on Jan. 28, 2015

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