There are numerous steps between when a Louisianan has been charged with a crime and the conclusion of a criminal case. Sometimes the process will involve a criminal trial. In other cases, however, a defendant and the prosecution may negotiate through what is known as plea negotiation and avoid a criminal trial.
Plea negotiation is a crucial facet of the criminal justice system, and it can be helpful for Louisianans who have been charged with crimes to understand how the process works. In a plea negotiation, both the prosecution and the defense will negotiate with the goal of ultimately coming to an agreement which both sides view as more favorable than proceeding to trial.
Plea negotiation offers practical benefits that may appeal to a defendant. For one, resolving a case via plea negotiation will allow a defendant to avoid having to deal with the potential stresses of a criminal trial. Criminal trials have the potential to be lengthy, as well as more public, and some defendants may want to avoid such an experience. Additionally, taking a plea may mean that a defendant can avoid particular penalties viewed as more severe.
Under a plea bargain, a defendant may opt to plead guilty to a lesser charge than the one originally initiated, or he or she may plead guilty to one of several charges while other charges are dismissed. Additionally, the acceptance of a plea bargain may mean that the prosecution will recommend that the judge exercise leniency in his or her sentencing of a defendant.
Legal assistance is imperative for effective plea negotiation. A Louisianan facing criminal charges would be wise to consult with an attorney to discuss his or her potential options, including the possibility of a favorable outcome via plea negotiation.
Source: American Bar Association, "How Courts Work," accessed August 7, 2016