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Mark I. Cohen, ESQ. NYC Criminal Attorney

4 Signs You Probably Should Not Accept A Plea Deal


After you are arrested and charged with a crime, you can take your case to trial or take care of your case through plea bargaining. Most criminal cases in the United States of America are taken care of through plea bargaining. To be precise, it is estimated that between 90 to 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargaining. When you accept a plea deal, you accept to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for a specific sentence or less serious charge.

Because of how common plea bargaining is, if you are facing criminal charges, chances are the prosecutor has already offered you a plea deal. It is crucial that before you accept the deal, you think carefully. While taking a plea deal might be the right thing to do, it might also be a big mistake.

So, how do you know you probably should not accept a plea deal? Below are four signs you probably should not take a plea deal.

You Are Innocent

If you did not commit the crime, you might be considering accepting a plea deal for various reasons. For example, you may be considering accepting a plea deal because you think the prosecution has enough evidence to convict you. Taking your case to trial may be the best option if you are innocent. A qualified criminal defense attorney can help you prove your innocence. Remember, if you accept a plea deal, even if you are not guilty, you will receive a conviction and carry a criminal record for the rest of your life.

You Have a Hard Time Understanding the Plea Deal

Before you accept a plea deal, you must understand what it entails, including its consequences. If you do not understand the plea deal the prosecutor has offered you, it is a sign you should not accept the deal. If you are having a hard time understanding a plea deal, reach out to a skilled criminal defense attorney who can explain the ins and outs of the deal offered and answer all your questions.

You Have a Defense

Even if you committed the crime in question, accepting a plea deal might not be a good idea if you have a defense. For example, if you are facing assault charges but you only injured the alleged victim because they attacked you, you may be able to use the defense of “self-defense.”  If you raise your defense, and the prosecutor is unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, you may be able to secure an acquittal.

The Punishment Seems Too Severe

With a plea deal, you may be required to, for example, serve a jail sentence or complete probation. However, if the prosecutor expects you to give up too much or the punishment seems overly harsh for the crime, you should not accept the plea deal before speaking to a defense attorney. An attorney can help you determine if you are better off not taking the plea deal.

Contact an NYC Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have questions about your criminal case or need help determining whether or not you should accept a plea deal, contact our experienced NYC criminal defense attorney, Mark I. Cohen, today.


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