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What is a Plea Bargain?

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Houston Criminal Law Video Transcription

Plea bargaining is a natural portion of the process of the criminal proceedings. During the plea bargaining process the attorney that you retain will talk to the prosecutor about the evidence. The strengths of the evidence, the weakness of the evidence.

He’ll also talk to the prosecutor about who you are. He’ll personalize you as a client, and so that way you won’t just be another criminal defendant, you’ll be an actual person. He’ll let them know who you are, what you do for a living, what your criminal history is like. And that will determine what type of offer is made to you by the prosecutor. The less criminal history you have, the lower the offer, in general. The more criminal history that you have, the higher the offer is, in general.

But the important thing about the plea bargaining process is that it’s a negotiation between you and the state to try to work the case out prior to trial. It’s important, because you can determine the outcome of the case between you and the state and you can work out details that you can live with.

If you go to trial, you’re going to roll the dice and let the jury to determine whether or not you’re guilty, and possibly, if you are guilty, determine what the punishment should be. So you lose a little bit of control of the process if you don’t enter into a plea bargain agreement and you go to trial. But many times, you have to go to trial to vindicate yourself, and to show that you are in fact, not guilty of this offense.