What is a plea bargain?

Plea Bargain in Tennessee Criminal Law

Protect your rights in criminal cases

When a person is charged with a crime and arrested or indicted the criminal case moves through the court system in a multiple step process.  The goal of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the defendant and the court is the same in one respect- reach finality the disposition phase of the case.  The State of Tennessee’s goal is to get a conviction.  The criminal defendant of course would like to walk away without a conviction.  An alternate goal of the defendant is to spend as little time in jail as possible.

Agreement Between Criminal Defendant and The State of Tennessee

Of course a person charged with a crime is absolutely entitled to a trial by a jury of his/her peers. and to representation by an attorney of his/her choice.  There are times however, that a  defendant is not in a good position to defend the criminal charges and the State has sufficient evidence to obtain a conviction.  In these cases the defendant is often times better served if he/she can plead guilty to either a lesser crime (i.e misdemeanor instead of a felony, or a lower class of felony B instead of A) or the original crime charged with a reduced sentence, or even a suspended sentence or probation.  The State is spared the expense of a trial and the court’s burden is eased.  The defendant receives a lesser sentence or probation and is also spared the expense of a trial.

Trial or Plea Agreement is Your Option

Of course if you are charged with a crime and do not want to plead guilty you may choose to take your chances at trial. A Plea Bargain is not mandatory for the defendant nor the State, it is just a process which is available to help dispose of a criminal case without the complications, risk or expense of a trial. The decision to enter a plea agreement or go to trial is extremely serious and complicated, always seek the advice of a criminal defense attorney before making this decision.

The practice of entering a Plea bargain  has been a source of debate within state and federal governments for many years.  Without the plea bargain process the criminal courts would be unable to process cases with any modicum of speed.  Some experts believe that if all criminal cases had to go to trial it could take up to 20-25 years for a case to go to trial.

To learn more about making a plea bargain in Tennessee seek the advice of a criminal law attorney


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