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Plea Vs. Trial: Which To Choose When Facing Criminal Charges

You might end up facing some big decisions after the police arrest you for criminal charges, and among these decisions will be one that could affect a lot of different things. This decision is whether to choose a plea bargain or to go to trial. These are generally the two main options defendants have when facing charges, so which one should you choose? The best way to answer this is by looking at the pros and cons of each option.

The differences between a plea bargain and a trial

The key differences with these options are the way you settle your case and how you plead. With a plea bargain, you must plead guilty to the offense, while you will plead innocent for the trial. The plea is settled right away, while a trial takes time to occur. These are key differences with these two options that you will likely have to choose from.

The pros and cons of plea bargains

To begin, there are pros with plea bargains. The first is that you will receive a lesser charge than the original charge simply because you are agreeing to plead guilty. The second is that a lesser charge will result in a lighter punishment. The third is that you can get in and out of court for the charges very quickly compared to going through a trial.

The downside is the fact that you must plead guilty, and there is no way around this. The second downside is you lose the right to an innocent verdict, which is always a possible outcome of a trial.

The pros and cons of going to trial

The main pro of a trial is the fact that there is a chance you could walk away from the charges as an innocent person. If the court finds you innocent, they will drop all charges. You do not have this option when you choose a plea bargain.

There are two main downsides to a trial. The first is that it takes a lot of time. You do not just settle it right away. The second is that you may not have the ability to get a reduced charge from it. You would face the original charge in the matter.

Having a good understanding of the pros and cons of both options can help you choose the right path; however, you should never choose one option or the other until after you discuss your case with a criminal defense attorney.