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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
In every criminal prosecution, the accused has the right to a trial. If you have been accused of a Texas drug crime, whether to exercise your right to a trial is a decision only you can make. Your attorney can advise you but cannot make that decision for you.
If you are not guilty of any crime, you should not plead guilty. If you committed a crime, the State is not entitled to a conviction unless it can prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The guilty and the innocent alike are entitled to a trial and should receive an acquittal if reasonable doubt exists.
In many cases, however, it is likely that the State can prove a crime if the case goes to trial. In those cases, a defendant may not want to risk a trial if a negotiated outcome is likely to produce a more favorable result. The process of negotiating a resolution in a criminal case is known informally as “plea bargaining.” Most criminal prosecutions are resolved through plea bargaining.
Benefits of a Plea Bargain
A plea agreement reached between the prosecution and the defense may result in the dismissal of some charges or in the reduction of a charge to a less serious offense. A plea agreement can also address the kind of sentence the State will seek. The prosecutor might agree to “cap” a sentencing recommendation (agree to recommend no more than a certain period of confinement) while leaving the defense free to argue for a lesser sentence, or both sides might agree to make a joint recommendation of a specific sentence to the court.
Once a plea agreement is in place, the defendant gives up his or her right to a trial and enters the agreed upon plea. The case then proceeds to sentencing. Judges are not required to follow a plea agreement but they usually do. If judges stopped honoring plea agreements, every case would go to trial and the system would grind to a halt. Judges understand that so they tend to go along with plea agreements even if they would have imposed a harsher sentence if the defendant had been convicted following a trial.
Let a Lubbock Drug Lawyer Help You
Negotiation is a skill. You need a skilled lawyer if you want to negotiate a favorable plea agreement. Since it is best to negotiate from a position of strength, your lawyer will take measures to expose weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, to find evidence that assists the defense, and to make the prosecutor realize that he or she will be in for a fight if the case proceeds to trial. An aggressive defense almost always precedes a beneficial plea bargain.
If you want to obtain the best plea agreement that can be made in your case, you need have a respected federal criminal defense attorney negotiating on your behalf. Call Texas Criminal Defense Group to discuss your case with an experienced lawyer.