If you face criminal charges, it’s highly likely that the prosecutor will offer you a plea deal. They offer you a lesser sentence in exchange for saving them the time and trouble of going to trial.
There are certainly occasions where it makes sense to take one, but there are also many occasions where people have taken a deal that was not in their best interests at all.
Plea deals suit the prosecutors more than they suit you
Prosecutors want a result, and nothing guarantees them a win as easily as a plea deal. Reports suggest that 98% of criminal cases in the country are settled by a plea deal. You only have to think about that figure to realize something is amiss. The police don’t always get the right person, so there are some people who were wrongly prosecuted and accepted a plea deal.
The alternative can sound awful
Prosecutors do their best to persuade you to take the offer, and they’re not averse to trumping up the charges to force your hand. In some serious crimes, they make it sound like you must take the deal or you’ll never see your family again, except through prison glass.
Prosecutors won’t tell you about the weaknesses in their case
They won’t tell you that their star witness is unreliable or that the police made a procedural error that could jeopardize the case. Or that a jury will likely believe you when you say you did not do it. They just want you to think accepting their offer is best for you. In many cases, it is not.
The best way to know whether you should take the plea deal offered is to seek legal advice. Your representative can explain all your other options and help you make the best choice.