In this episode Attorney Chuck Franklin explains what plea agreements are, how they work, and how they can effect you.
In light of my last video about what a defense attorney’s role is in a court room, I’d like to explain one other aspect of it. A lot of time a person gets charged with a crime or multiple crimes and the state may come to the defendant’s attorney and ask if their client will take a “deal”, a “deal” meaning a plea agreement. When the state asks for a plea agreement they basically are asking the client to plead guilty to a certain charge in exchange to have the other charges dismissed or reduced. There is usually always a benefit to the parties, however, sometimes it’s just a lazy prosecutor wanting you to take a deal, and not go to trial.
My theory is that there is a deal to be had on anything in life, so you have to give up something to get something, it’s something to consider.
Again, defense lawyers are not there to get someone “off”. The state may offer a plea agreement because they don’t have enough evidence for a strong case or to convince a jury otherwise. On the other hand, a defendant might take a plea agreement because they do not want to roll the dice. You never know what will happen in front of a jury of your peers. You do not know how well the state’s case is going to go or how well your case is going to go. It is always a gamble.
A plea agreement is a contract between the state of Arizona and you, or in federal court the federal government and you, and it states you will plead guilty, in exchange for something.
An example of a plea agreement is this: Let’s say you have been charged with four crimes and you have a huge exposure to prison time. Now say these crimes were four armed robberies on four different dates. This allows the court to stack sentencing because these crimes were all on different dates at different locations. The agreement could be that the state will let you plead guilty to one and dismiss the other crimes and give you probation, so you don’t end up in prison. Maybe they will do a no-agreements offer, where it is completely up to the court to decide whether to give you probation, probation with jail, or prison.
Prison in Arizona can be a super mitigated, mitigated, presumptive term, aggravated, or super aggravated term. Meaning that aggravated or super aggravated is greater than the presumptive term.
So, with say a no-agreements plea agreement, the judge has that option to give you any of those stated above. The state may not ask for anything more than the presumptive. So, then your attorney can argue for a mitigated term which is less than the presumptive.
Again, there is typically a benefit to a plea agreement. The benefit to the victim is that they do not have to come into court, and don’t have to deal with it anymore especially if it is something heinous. The benefit to the accused is that they may get some charges dropped or get reduced sentencing.
Keep I mind when you are the victim of a crime, the state is not your attorney. They are there for the State of Arizona, just like the federal prosecutors are there for the United States Government. They are not there for you, even though they do take into victims’ rights into consideration.
Again, a plea agreement is a contract between you and the government stating, “you are going to plead guilty to a certain crime or crimes”, in exchange for the dismissal on crimes or the reduction of the potential sentence of the crimes you are pleading out too.
If you or anyone you know needs legal assistance of any kind do not hesitate to contact Attorney Chuck Franklin here: (480) 545-0700