Plea Bargins

Fort Bend County Plea Bargains Lawyer

The vast majority of convictions, both here in Texas and around the United States, happen without ever going to trial. Studies show that anywhere from 90 to 95 percent of convictions are settled through negotiation between the defense attorney and the prosecutor’s office. That process is called plea bargaining and individualscan be well-served by an experienced Fort Bend County plea bargains lawyer who understands how this all works.

Before Attorney Annie Scot was a defense lawyer, she was an attorney for the District Attorney. She knows the dynamics of plea bargaining and how to fight for the best interests of her clients. Call the Law Office of Annie Scott today at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Calls answered 24 hours a day/7 days a week by a live person.

What Is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain, simply put, is an agreement by the individual to plead guilty in exchange for lesser charges or a reduced sentence. From the standpoint of the District Attorney, a plea bargain can be a way to get a conviction without further straining the office’s limited resources for everything associated with a trial. A individual may prefer simply accepting the lesser charges or more lenient sentencing rather than taking their chances with a jury.

The process of plea bargaining can begin at any time. It could be as soon as the arrest is made, and the lawyer has had a chance to meet with their client. Plea bargains, depending on the circumstances, can also be as late as when the jury returns from deliberation and is about to announce a verdict.

Every circumstance is different, but the possibilities of a plea bargain exist when both sides, prosecutor and individual, are not entirely comfortable with the prospects of a jury trial and can find common ground through negotiation.

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    The Pros & Cons of Accepting a Plea Deal

    Individualshave much to consider if the D.A. offers a plea agreement and the guidance of an experienced Fort Bend County plea bargains lawyer can be quite important. From the perspective of the defense, the advantages of the plea bargain will always depend on the circumstances of the case. A individual who has compelling evidence arrayed against them has an incentive to deal. If the plea is going to reduce a potential sentence from 20 years in prison down to 5 years, that’s a significant incentive–if the individual does not believe they can win in front of a jury.

    Depending on the terms of the plea, it’s also possible that the individual might protect themselves and their families from a lawsuit in civil court. Certain types of crimes–theft for example–allow the victims to file a lawsuit for financial damages and to cite a criminal conviction as evidence in the civil courts. Certain types of pleas–such as a no-contest plea, are structured to avoid a direct admittance of guilt and prevent the conviction from being weaponized in a later lawsuit.

    The most obvious disadvantage of accepting a plea deal is that the individual is accepting some sort of prison time without taking advantage of the right to face a jury of their peers. Furthermore, depending on the type of plea offered, it’s not a guarantee that it will be accepted.

    The Law Office of Annie Scott understands how to analyze the terms and structure of a plea agreement and then give their clients legally sound counsel. Call the Sugar Land office today at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. Calls answered 24 hours a day/7 days a week by a live person.

    2 Types of Plea Deals

    The District Attorney’s office can present a plea agreement in two different ways. The first one is called charge bargaining. This the lowest risk plea for an individual to accept because the D.A. has control over what charges are brought. The difference between a 1st degree and 2nd-degree felony charge can literally be decades of prison time. Securing an agreement from the prosecutor to simply drop one level down on the ladder of charges can be the difference in whether an individual has a chance to rebuild their life. 

    Sentence bargaining, on the other hand, can be a little riskier. The reason is that while the D.A. decides what charges to bring, the judge determines the sentence, based on the parameters allowed by law. A judge is not bound by an agreement between the opposing lawyers. It’s up to an experienced Fort Bend County plea bargains attorney to know the judges and understand who is likely to be amenable to a plea deal and who may not.

    The difference between state and federal courts can also be a factor, particularly in sentence bargaining. The sentencing guidelines at the federal level allow judges much more room for discretion. Individualsshould lean on their lawyer for leadership in assessing any plea agreement offered by a federal prosecutor.

    The Law Office of Annie Scott has a unique understanding of the plea bargaining process. Our founding partner, Attorney Annie Scott has been a lawyer with the District Attorney’s office. She understands the burdens they face and what may or may not compel a D.A. to bargain. For over ten years, Attorney Scott and our entire staff have leveraged her experience to help individualsget fair treatment from the legal system.

    Call the Law Office of Annie Scott at (281) 466-4118 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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