Are Plea Deals Just Another Injustice?
Everyone likes a deal. How many times have you gone to a dollar store and bought bags full of stuff you didn’t need just because it was for sale at a lower price than you might find elsewhere? The purveyors of deals are counting on you not to think much about what you are giving up by accepting the deal. Sure, you can buy twenty single-use foil baking trays for $20, but one Pyrex baking tray costs only $11, and you can use it hundreds of times. A plea deal can be an even worse deal. When you accept a plea deal, you are accepting a criminal sentence that will cause you financial harm and keep you at high risk of incarceration, even if the original plea deal enables you to avoid a prison sentence. Sometimes plea deals truly are the best option, but this does not account for every guilty plea the criminal court hears. Some defendants plead guilty even when there are defenses they could use that might establish reasonable doubt, and some people even plead guilty when they are unambiguously innocent of the charges. You may decide to plead guilty in your case, but if you work with a Tampa criminal lawyer, you will at least be doing so with a thorough understanding of all the factors involved.
Why Are Plea Deals the Rule Rather Than the Exception?
According to Nneka Ewulonu of The Appeal, many defendants plead guilty because they simply do not realize that they have any other option. 94 percent of convictions in federal court and 97 percent of convictions in state courts arise from guilty pleas. A large number of these come from clients represented by public defenders. The caseload of a public defender varies from one state to another but, nationwide, the average caseload of one public defender is more than twice the caseload of one criminal defense attorney in private practice. The court appoints public defenders to the cases of all defendants accused of crimes where they could face incarceration of more than six months, and while this is better than not providing legal representation, overworked public defenders simply lack the resources to find all possible defenses for every defendant, or even to negotiate the best plea deals.
All of this goes to show that a criminal defense lawyer is your best defense. If you are innocent, your lawyer can help you fight to the finish to persuade the jury of this. Your criminal defense lawyer might even be able to formulate defenses that will persuade the court to drop the charges against you before you even have to enter a plea.
Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven
Whether it is best to plead guilty or not guilty depends on the details of your case. A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing charges for multiple offenses, such that you might be able to get some of them dropped if you plead guilty to others. Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.