In our earlier post, we discussed a few important strategies to consider in negotiating a plea in a criminal case. These plea bargaining strategies have been highlighted in Thomas J. Farrell’s “Criminal Defense Tools and Techniques.” While there are various techniques that work, here are few to consider.
Beware the Long Sentence Imposed Through Drug Court
It is true that drug courts can provide a great opportunity for defendants to deal with underlying drug problems that may be contributing to crime, these programs can also trap defendants to some jail time. Mainly, post-adjudicative drug court programs often lead to a substantial period of incarceration, if a client is unsuccessful in completing the program. In that situation, the defendant is left with little leverage to obtain a favorable sentence.
Make Sure the Decision to Accept a Plea is Well-Informed
The decision to plead guilty is always the client’s decision alone. However, the advice of the criminal defense attorney should be given great deference. One way to provide objective advice upon which the client can make an informed decision is to discuss how the trial is likely to play out, as objectively as possible. A criminal defense attorney can draw from his or her experience with trials, judges and juries to predict the likely verdict based on the evidence.
Other Influential Factors to Consider
There are numerous factors related to a criminal trial that must be considered in making the decision to accept a plea agreement. Consider all of the potential defense testimony, as well as the likely cross-examination testimony that the prosecutor will elicit from those witnesses. How will this testimony help or hurt your case? Take into consideration the standard jury instructions on credibility, in order to avoid any unrealistic expectations about diffusing prosecution witnesses.
If you have questions regarding plea agreements, or any other criminal defense matters, please contact Ketcham Law by calling us at (205) 296-4233.