What is Plea Bargaining in California?

A majority of criminal cases do not go to trial, instead they are resolved through a process called plea bargaining. A plea bargain is an offer made by prosecution at your first appearance in court, also known as your arraignment. Prosecution will ask you to plead guilty to a lesser charge. They will get the case completed at the very first appearance, and you will a reduced charge. This benefits prosecution and the court system by quickly resolving cases and keeping the costs low by avoiding trial. Whether this is a good idea for the person being charged depends on the specific facts of the case.

At your arraignment, you are asked to make a plea. This plea can be guilty, not guilty or no contest. When pleading no contest, you are not stating that you are guilty, but that you do not wish to argue the charge. You do not have the option to plead not guilty, or no contest when accepting a plea bargain.sYou must plead guilty in order to receive a lower sentence. The potential consequence of the lesser charge will depend on the case.

When making a plea bargain, you have to consider many things. On the surface it may seem appealing; getting a lesser charge and as a result a lesser sentence for just having to plead guilty. However, there is more to it than that. A plea of guilty will remain on your record. Additionally, it leave no room for negotiation in front of the Judge. An experienced San Diego Criminal Defense attorney can reduce your charge considerably more than prosecution’s plea bargain.

For example, if you are charged with Driving Under the Influence, prosecution may offer you no jail time if you plead guilty. However, a knowledgeable Criminal Defense attorney may appear before the Judge and have the DUI charge reduced down to a reckless driving. Not only does this prevent a DUI from being on your record, it will have a beneficial impact on your auto insurance and DMV record.

An attorney knows when a plea bargain is a good offer, and when a case is worth arguing through years of experience. Someone who has not appeared in court before may not know when to plead guilty, or how much lower they can reduce their charge, potentially even have it dismissed.sA professional can provide you with the guidance you need to get the results you want.