Types of Plea Deals in Georgia
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Author: Philip Kim, Founder, Philip Kim Law, P.C.
Defense lawyer Philip Kim has committed his career to standing up for the accused, and protecting the rights and reputations of his valued clients. If you face criminal charges in Georgia, we can provide you with the skilled, effective defense representation you need.
Published on December 27, 2023.
Plea Deals in Georgia
If you or a family member faces criminal charges in Georgia, concerns about trial outcomes or the emotional strain of legal proceedings may be overwhelming. Understanding available options when confronted with criminal charges is crucial.
Typically, a jury trial is the standard procedure. Still, there are two alternatives if you want to avoid a jury trial: you can waive your right to a jury trial and opt to be tried before a single judge or accept a plea deal.
To navigate these options and potential benefits, particularly in securing favorable plea deals, it’s essential to enlist the services of a criminal defense lawyer. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Philip Kim Law, P.C. can guide you through plea deal processes tailored to your benefit.
Understanding Plea Deals
Commonly known as a plea bargain, a plea deal is an agreement where the prosecutor grants concessions to the defendant in exchange for a plea of guilt or nolo contendere. This arrangement may result in reduced charges and, consequently, milder penalties. Opting for a plea deal becomes advantageous, especially if the prosecution’s case against you is more substantial and the penalty for the offense is severe if found guilty.
Once the plea agreement or deal is reached, it undergoes review and sentencing by the judge.
Types of Plea Deals in Georgia
There are several types of plea deals, including:
Charge Bargaining: In this type, you would have to plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid a jury trial. It is the most common type of plea deal as it reduces the gravity of the offense you are initially indicted for. For instance, you may agree to plead guilty to a simple assault charge instead of violent crimes like aggravated assault.
Sentence Bargaining: Sentencing bargaining as a form of plea bargain occurs when a defendant agrees to plead guilty before formal sentencing, aiming for a more lenient sentence than one would receive without the guilty plea. For instance, a DUI plea bargain might entail pleading guilty to drunk driving in exchange for a fine, which is a more lenient sentence than incarceration.
Fact Bargaining: Fact bargaining is pleading guilty in exchange for the prosecutor withholding or affirming specific facts impacting the sentence. The prosecutor agrees to withhold some facts of your case from the court proceedings if you admit to certain facts regarding the crime or offense you are charged with.
The Legal Process of Plea Bargaining
The stages of securing a plea deal include:
Initial Discussions: This is the stage where the prosecution and your attorney come together to explore the potential for a plea deal when you are facing criminal charges.
Negotiations with Prosecutors: The negotiation stage is the crux of a plea deal. In this stage, your attorney considers and weighs the prosecution’s offer to determine whether that is the best offer you can get favorably. Adjustments may be made until a mutually agreeable conclusion is reached.
Court Approval Process: After your attorney and the prosecution have reached a conclusive agreement, they will tender it to the court for approval and sentencing.
Benefits of a Plea Deal
A plea deal provides a system whereby the prosecutors, the criminal defense lawyers, and the judges can work together towards a goal and individual benefits. Plea deals offer advantages to defendants, prosecutors, and the criminal justice system, including:
Avoidance of Complete Loss at Trial: A plea bargain provides a common ground where there is no complete loss at trial for both the defendant and the prosecution. Where the evidence for or against the defendant is questionable, having a plea deal will help both sides minimize their potential losses.
Preservation of Resources: The judicial system benefits from preserved resources, which are allocated more efficiently to cases requiring additional attention.
Tool for the Prosecutors: In cases with multiple defendants, prosecutors can leverage plea deals to motivate defendants to testify against co-defendants in exchange for leniency.
Time-Saving Procedure: The time and vigor spent on trials can be alarming and impact the accused, the defense, and the prosecution. Plea deals save time and energy compared to lengthy trials, benefiting all involved parties.
The Role of a Defense Attorney in Plea Deals
A defense attorney plays a crucial role by:
Assessing the Best Option for the Client
Hiring a criminal defense attorney when facing a criminal charge or considering a plea deal would benefit you. Such attorneys can use their experience handling criminal matters to assess your case. There are instances where the prosecution may know they do not have a strong case against you.
In such cases, a criminal defense attorney can guide you on the best option. Without a strong case against you, your defense attorney advises on whether to accept or reject a plea bargain from the prosecution and why you may be successful in a trial, thereby preventing a conviction that may impact your criminal record.
Negotiating with Prosecutors
Specific strategies and tactics are needed in negotiations. Since a plea deal is a form of negotiation with the prosecutor, you want to avoid making mistakes by agreeing on a term unfavorable to you when you can have a better one. A skilled criminal defense attorney can exercise his negotiation skills and experience to ensure you secure the most favorable terms in the plea deal.
Contact Philip Kim Law, P.C. for Your Plea Deals
Securing a legal representation before you agree to an offer of a plea deal from the prosecution is essential. You do not have to navigate the nuances of a plea deal and its implications without the proper guidance of a criminal defense attorney. The prosecution aims to indict you, and leaving your fate in their hands may not benefit you.
At Philip Kim Law, P.C., our experienced criminal defense attorneys are committed to representing you effectively in your trial or plea deal negotiations. Our client-centric approach drives us towards ultimately securing the best possible outcome for you in your case while maintaining open and honest communication with you.
Contact us to schedule a free consultation.