How does plea negotiation work?

Sometimes, fighting for criminal charges to be dismissed may not be in one's best interests. Plea negotiation may actually be the way to go. Colorado residents who stand accused of crimes will have to make the decision for themselves, but to do so, it is important to understand what plea negotiation can do.

When one chooses to attempt plea negotiations, it means that he or she is ready to accept some level of punishment but would like it to be reduced. This is not something that is likely to be offered if one chooses to proceed with a trial and loses. There are actually three areas that are negotiated when seeking a plea agreement. These are:

  • Charges
  • Sentence
  • Facts

When pursuing a plea agreement, one of the first things negotiated is the charges filed in the case. By choosing to enter a guilty plea on a lesser charge, one still accepts responsibility for a crime -- just at a different level. A charge reduction attached to a plea agreement must be approved in court.

Along with seeking a charge reduction, those looking for plea deals are also wanting to minimize consequences associated with a conviction. This can be accomplished through achieving a charge reduction or by negotiating a lesser sentence by pleading guilty to the charges already on the table. Going this route can help avoid a trial.

Finally, negotiating facts. Sometimes, there are some facts that one may not want entered into evidence. This is something the accused and his or her legal counsel can request as part of a plea agreement.

Plea negotiation generally occurs outside of court. One must be careful about what he or she accepts, as it may have significant ramifications. With the assistance of legal counsel, Colorado residents can make informed legal decisions regarding the best way to handle their cases -- whether that be taking a case to trial or seeking a plea deal.

Source: FindLaw, "Plea Bargaining: Areas of Negotiation", Accessed on Nov. 15, 2017

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