Phoenix Lawyers / Taking a Plea Deal

Taking a Plea Deal

Watch this video to learn if you should be taking a plea deal in Arizona. Then, call Smith & Green Attorneys at Law today for a legal consultation.

Question:

Should I take a plea deal?

Answer:

Taking a Plea Deal Clients who are facing criminal charges often ask this question: Should I take this plea deal or not? They’ve offered me this plea. Should I take it or not?

Plea deals are a part of the criminal process. It’s a tool used by prosecutors and the court– in disposing of cases and making them go away prior to trial because, of course, trials are very time-consuming. They can be very lengthy depending on the kind of charges that you’ve been charged with, and also, they require quite a deal of resources to deal with. If the prosecutor thinks they have all of the evidence that’s necessary, which they should always, to get a conviction on the case, they’ll offer you a plea deal to something lesser normally, and the question is should you take the plea deal.

Here’s what you have to consider. Having a criminal record can have a great impact on a lot of areas of your life, even if it’s just spitting on the sidewalk. Criminal records have a great impact on your life, on your employment, your residence, your credit history, your family and future plans for yourself, so you have to consider everything before just taking a plea because you’re scared of what could be.

We often tell my clients to consider this: What is your exposure in the case? This means how much evidence do they really have, and what can the impact of this be if you are actually convicted of it? In Arizona, we have mandatory sentencing statutes that if you’re convicted of certain crimes, there’s a mandatory sentence that the judge has to sentence you to. Of course, that can be minimized or mitigated. It can be aggravated, or it can be maximized, but there’s a range that the judge has to sentence you, and the judge doesn’t even have discretion about that, unless probation is offered as a part of the offense. You have to consider that before determining whether or not to accept a plea.

If you didn’t do it, you didn’t do it. We would never tell somebody to accept a plea up front that they didn’t do it, they aren’t guilty of the crime because they weren’t there. There’s an alibi. The second thing that you have to consider is what defenses do you have that are available to you? If they said that you were at the scene of this bank robbery and you know that you were not there, we’re not going to accept a plea. We’re going to find out a way to prove that you were not at the scene of that crime. We’ve used a cell tower pings. text messages, even email addresses and Google maps. There’s plenty of ways you can use to prove that someone was not at the scene of a crime and to get charges dismissed against folks or get acquittals against folks. These are conversations that you must have with your attorney.

Again, what are the defenses? What evidence do they have? If the evidence is bad, then maybe there’s a shot at it that you can take. As far as defenses are concerned in Arizona, if you claim self defense and you present evidence that shows you were acting in self-defense, well, then the burden shifts back to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you weren’t acting in self-defense on crimes where self-defense justification is warranted. You have to look at all of these things.

Again, the most important thing is what does this plea deal entail? What are they asking me to plea to? Can this be set aside later? You don’t want to be applying for jobs five years from now and get turned away. You have to look at everything. Sit and talk with your lawyer. A lot of prosecutors offer plea deals early on before you ever get a chance to even talk to a lawyer about your case, about your evidence, and so get with a lawyer, be it a public defender or you retain private counsel like us. Get with a lawyer soon before you start accepting plea deals and all of that stuff because you have to really figure out are this the right thing to do or not. We’re more than happy to go over your case with you. Give us a call or some other competent attorney so that you get the best possible outcome for your case.


Have you or a loved one been involved in a criminal defense case and have questions about taking a plea deal? Contact experienced Phoenix Criminal Defense Attorneys at Smith & Green today for a legal consultation.

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