Chattanooga Criminal Defense: Plea Bargain or Trial
Understanding Plea Bargaining
When a person is charged with a crime, the choice must be made, plead guilty or go to trial. Plea bargains resolve the the majority of criminal cases. Making an informed decision requires the expertise of a seasoned legal professional. Of course there are times when the criminal defense attorney can manage to get the charges dismissed, but that is a rare result. The process of plea bargaining involves negotiations between the State of Tennessee and the criminal defendant, through the prosecutor and the defense lawyer. The goal for the defendant is obviously to get the least possible sentence while the goal of the prosecution is to protect the public.The result for the person charged with a crime, the defendant, ranges between community service and probation to time in jail or prison, reduced through the bargaining process. Be sure to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Reducing Criminal Penalties
Every crime or criminal act is clearly defined in the Tennessee Code along with penalties which are usually a range and subject to the Tennessee sentence reform act. The Attorney General has a lot of discretion as does the court. It is usually not a question of guilty or not guilty, but what type of penalty will be enforced. The criminal defense attorney will seek to get a reduced penalty for the person charged with a crime. This process involves the expertise of the legal professional understanding the facts of the case, the relevant law, and negotiation strategy. Often times the results of plea bargaining will vary. It depends upon the background of the criminal Defendant. The type of crime charged. And the overall circumstances. The victim of the crime also has an input through the prosecutor.
The Results of Plea Bargaining
A first time offender charged with a non-violent crime will stand a better chance of sentence reduction then a repeat offender charged with a violent crime. There are a broad range of options that are available in plea bargaining. The defense attorney can sometimes convince the prosecutor to reduce the charge to a lower crime which results in a lower penalty. Other times it is a matter of negotiating for probation and/or community service. If the person charged with the crime is a first time offender he/she may be eligible for judicial diversion. Again, all of these options require the defense attorney to first understand all of the facts and circumstances leading up to the criminal charge and the background of the defendant.
Remember there are never any guarantees when entering into the plea bargaining phase of a criminal case. Even an experienced attorney can only do so much. Not everyone will walk out of the courtroom free from incarceration. But, when charged with a crime having a seasoned legal professional on your side gives you a much better chance of receiving a lower penalty. But, do keep in mind negotiations require give and take. The District Attorney will have to see a benefit to the State of Tennessee. Also when a person pleads guilty to a crime, there will be some consequences. Speak to a Chattanooga criminal defense attorney about your case and whether to plead guilty or go to trial.