What is Plea Bargaining, And When is it a Good Idea in a Los Angeles Criminal Case

A plea bargain is essentially a compromise on the terms of a case settle a prosecutor and a defense lawyer, and his client. A plea bargain is a common term used in the courts in referring to a negotiation about the specific terms of a case settlement. An example of a favorable plea bargain is a reduction to a misdemeanor when the client has been charged with a felony. The benefit is substantially lowering the potential consequences to the client.

The potential of long-term incarceration is much greater in a felony case, and much smaller in a misdemeanor case. The effect of this plea bargain is that it protects the client from the harsh penalties associated with felony charges.

Another example of effective plea bargaining is when a defense lawyer persuades the prosecutor to reduce the charge. Under the right circumstances, it is possible to reduce a petty theft charge to a trespass charge. The benefit to the client in this plea bargain, is that the potential penalties including jail time are substantially reduced, and most likely eliminated. Further, a trespass charge is a much more favorable charge on one’s record, than the appearance of a theft offense which carries a much more negative connotation.

Effective plea negotiations can substitute harsher penalties like jail time, for sanctions like community service or Caltrans. In DUI and criminal cases, fines can be reduced, lengthly alcohol programs can be shortened, in exchange for clients attending alcoholic anonymous meetings, or other conditions.

It is critical that people charged with criminal charges be represented by a skilled and experienced attorney whose primary job is working to reduce or eliminate the most severe of consequences, in exchange for less harsh penalties like community service.

The most important foundation which must be laid, is bringing out all of the positive qualities, and good record of the defendant, thus demonstrating to the prosecutor and judge that although this offense is serious, that a more lenient disposition of the case is warranted based upon the clients positive background and good record.

This effective defense strategy continues to be powerful, even where the facts of the case do not present the client in a positive light. It is always in the clients best interests, to explore the possibility of an effective plea bargain which can substantially reduce or eliminate the often harsh sanctions of a criminal conviction.