Plea Bargains and Negotiations in Raleigh, NC
Plea Bargaining in District and Superior Court
If you have been charged with a crime, you have a right to a trial but there is frequently the potential for a prosecutor to offer you a plea bargain. Most plea bargaining occurs between the defense attorney and the prosecutor without the defendant present, unlike on TV. In a plea bargain, you would plead guilty in exchange for the state to reduce the charges against you, to a reduced sentence, or both. There are even times when a good criminal defense lawyer can get charges completely dismissed in exchange for something on a defendant’s part.
The Raleigh, North Carolina courthouse likely has a rate of trial that is in the neighborhood of two percent of all cases charged. That means about 98 percent resolve in pleas.
Prosecutors have an incentive to plead cases because it speeds up the process, consumes fewer State resources and ensures a conviction. People charged with crimes often may have an incentive to plead guilty so that they can get a conviction for a lesser charge or receive a lesser sentence. Pleas afford defendants guaranteed outcomes as opposed to the inherent risk in rolling the dice and taking a case to trial. Without plea bargains, courts and prosecutors would be overwhelmed. For prosecutors a plea bargains conserve resources and inflate their conviction rates, making it an attractive tool. It is every criminal defense lawyer’s obligation to relay all offers to their client. It is only after we have informed our client of all the facts and all of their options that our clients’ decide whether to go to trial or accept a plea. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, our defense lawyers never force our clients to do anything that they feel is not in their best interests.
Plea bargaining requires that you waive your right to a trial, your right against self-incrimination and your right to confront the witnesses against you. If you decide to accept a plea bargain, it must be entered into voluntarily, of your own free will. Further, you must be fully aware of all the consequences of taking that plea. As a general rule, judges will accept plea bargains so long as everyone is in agreement. The judge, however, does not participate in plea negotiations. You should know that there are times when judges reject potential plea deals, typically because they feel that the plea bargain is too lenient. When that happens, you have an absolute right to continuance.
In the event you decide to plead guilty in agreement with the prosecutor for reduced charges, the experienced attorneys at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC will initiate plea negotiations to ensure the best possible result for you. Part of the reason that we are able to achieve favorable pleas for our clients is that the Wake County District Attorney’s Office is thoroughly aware that our criminal defense lawyers are not afraid of going to trial.
Offering a plea bargain is at the prosecutor’s discretion. If you agree to it, you enter into a contract with the prosecutor, and the plea bargain should be placed on record. If you break your contract, however, the prosecutor is no longer bound by the deal. If the prosecutor breaks their side of deal, you can seek to have the guilty plea set aside or enforced.
If a plea bargain is offered to you, you certainly do not have to accept. Further, if plea negotiations are initiated, and you do not like the way they are going, you can simply tell us that you want us to take the case to trial. At Kurtz & Blum, PLLC, we stand ready and by your side whether in trial or in plea negotiations.
Our Raleigh criminal lawyers help people throughout Wake County, North Carolina. We frequently handle offenses arising out of the following cities: Wake Forest, Raleigh, Apex, Knightdale, Rolesville, Garner, Cary, New Hope, Zebulon, Wendell, Morrisville, Holly Springs, and Fuquay-Varina.