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Waldorf, Maryland Criminal Defense: If I Get Offered a Plea Bargain, Should I Take it?

Without knowing the details of the plea bargain, it is impossible to know if you should take it. On the other hand, if it is the FIRST plea offer, very likely, you should NOT take it, at least not without trying to get the prosecuting attorneys to “sweeten” the deal and not without consulting with skilled and experienced top-rated Maryland criminal defense lawyers like the ones at the Law Office of Robert Castro. If you are internet-searching for the “best Maryland criminal defense attorneys,” call us at (301) 705-5137. We are available around the clock, 24/7. We provide superior criminal defense representation in Charles County, Prince George’s County, St. Mary’s County, and other parts of Southern Maryland. Here are some thoughts on evaluating a plea bargain offer.

First, what is a plea bargain? In Maryland, a plea bargain is an offer by the Maryland prosecuting attorneys of something in exchange for something from the criminal defendant. Here are some examples. If three crimes have been charged, the prosecutors might offer to drop two of the more serious charges and ask that the defendant plead guilty to the third charge. Or, as another example, the prosecutors might offer to drop all charges in exchange for the defendant’s help and testimony against a person charged in a different criminal case.

Prosecutors generally have three things to offer: dropping/dismissing charges, reducing the severity/level of charges, and agreeing to recommend lenient sentencing to the judge handling the case. Most judges in most cases will accept the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendations, particularly if the recommendation is known to be part of a plea bargain. Prosecutors are willing to negotiate since, if successful, they can close the case. This is “good” for the prosecutors since their job performance metrics are based on successfully closing cases.

When considering whether a plea bargain is “good” or “bad,” the primary evaluation concerns the strength of the prosecutor’s case. Evaluation involves a game of prediction and looking at the odds of conviction. Do the prosecutors have solid, admissible, and convincing evidence that gives the prosecution team a high probability of obtaining a conviction? By contrast, is the evidence weak, creating a high probability of a not-guilty verdict? Does the defendant have a solid, convincing defense, like an unimpeachable alibi?

The other major consideration is the consequences to the defendant of accepting the plea bargain. Let’s take jail time, for example. How much jail time will the defendant serve if the plea bargain is accepted? That has to be compared to how much jail time is possible if the jury convicts. These are both compared to no jail time being served if the jury renders a not guilty verdict. As can be seen, evaluating a plea bargain is a complicated endeavor with many “puzzle” pieces.

You definitely need the help of experienced Maryland criminal defense attorneys before accepting a plea bargain.

Contact Waldorf, Maryland, Criminal Defense Lawyer Robert Castro Today

This article has been provided by the Law Office of Robert Castro. For more information or questions, contact our office to speak to an experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyer at (301) 705-5137. We are Waldorf, MD, Criminal Defense lawyers. Our address is 2670 Crain Highway, Waldorf, MD 20601.