Prosecutors often try to scare you into a plea deal by telling you a judge will hand down this or that sentence if you do not. Yet they may be bluffing.
Judges do not always hand down maximum sentences. While going to jail for a long time may be a possibility, you need to understand the chances the judge would go that far.
Here are some things to consider if offered a plea deal:
What are the chances the prosecution can prove you committed the alleged crime?
The prosecutor tells you they know you did it. The police investigators did the same. That does not mean they do or that you did. Besides, knowing something is a long way from proving something.
What options are there to disqualify evidence or the whole case?
In some instances, even proving you committed a crime is not enough to secure a conviction. Courts throw out many cases due to technical errors made during the stop and arrest or at some later stage.
What are the consequences of a plea deal?
A lesser conviction is still a conviction, and any conviction will affect your future. A criminal record can leave you unable to secure specific jobs or positions of authority. It can even affect your ability to secure housing or education. On top of that, it can weigh heavy on your mind and influence other people’s opinions of you. All that on top of whatever sentence the judge hands down.
Never trust the person offering you a plea deal. You need someone on your side who can explain more about the legal realities and probabilities and help you make the correct criminal defense choices.