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Plea bargains in the federal criminal justice system

One of the scariest things that you have to think about when you are facing federal criminal charges is having to stand trial for those charges. This is because of the unknowns: You never know how a jury will perceive each case.

Another issue is that you face is that the resources for the prosecution run deep. This means that they might have more time and money to spend on building a case against you. Here are some points that you should think about if you are going to entertain the possibility of a plea agreement for federal criminal charges.

A trial isn't the only way to resolve a federal criminal case

Many federal criminal cases are resolved through plea agreements. These agreements are often preferred by the defendants in these cases for several reasons. One of the main benefits is that you don't have to go through the process of preparing for trial. Another is that you don't need all of the information about the prosecution's case made public in court.

Plea deals are only valid when a person committed the crime

The only way that you should accept a plea bargain is if you did commit the crime in question. Part of the plea deal requires you to admit your guilt in court before the judge. If you didn't commit the crimes in question, you shouldn't entertain the possibility of pleading guilty in order to get a plea deal. Instead, you can prepare your defense for trial.

Terms can vary greatly

The terms of plea agreements vary greatly depending on the case. The most common form of plea deals is charge bargaining. In this case, you would be able to be charged with a lesser charge in exchange for your guilty plea. This could mean that you can have a federal felony reduced to a misdemeanor, which can have a big impact on your future since you wouldn't be branded a felon. Sentence bargaining is possible, but the regulations of this type of plea deal make it something that is used much less. Fact bargaining is also possible, but it isn't used a lot.

Prosecutors are more likely to work with a defense attorney

Many prosecutors choose to work with defense attorneys and not individual defendants when it comes to plea deals. While you can represent yourself, doing so can have a negative impact on the possibility of entering into a plea agreement. Plus, it is usually a good idea to have an attorney who is familiar with federal cases on your side.

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