If you are the defendant in a criminal prosecution you are undoubtedly concerned about the eventual outcome of you case. Even if the charges against you are relatively minor, the negative consequences of a conviction can be long-lasting and far reaching. If, however, you have serious doubts as to your ability to win at trial you may start wondering “Should I accept the plea bargain offered to me by the State of Nebraska?” Because every criminal prosecution involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, only an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney can review those facts and circumstances and provide you with an opinion regarding the advisability of accepting a plea bargain. It may, however, be beneficial to know what factors are typically considered when evaluating a plea agreement offered by the State.
· Evidence — in a perfect world, the evidence the State has against you should be the only consideration when deciding whether or not to accept a plea bargain. The reality, however, is that there are other considerations, though an analysis of the evidence, or lack thereof, remains the most important consideration. Only an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney can evaluate the strength of the evidence against you.
· Terms of the offer – if you are considering a plea agreement, the terms offered by the State are certainly important. For example, if their best offer requires you to plead to all counts and sentences you to close to the maximum term of incarceration, you have little incentive to accept the offer. On the other hand, if the offer dismisses the most serious charges and calls for a probation only sentence, you have much more reason to seriously consider the offer.
· Potential jury pool – the U.S. Constitution says you have the right to have your case decided by a “jury of your peers.” Sometimes, however, a true jury of your peers does not exist. Therefore, you need to ask yourself who will the men and women be who decide your fate if you decide to take your case to a jury trial and, more importantly, will you get a fair trial?
· Worst case scenario – make sure you have a clear picture of the “worst case scenario.” In other words, what could happen if you go to trial, are found guilty, and sentenced to the maximum? That is what you risk if you do not negotiate a plea agreement with the State.
· Money and time – again, in a perfect world, money and time would not factor into deciding to accept a plea agreement or proceed to trial; however, in the real world both often do. If you are in custody time will play a particularly important role in your decision making because you will likely have to remain in custody until the resolution of your case unless you are able to bond out.
If you are currently facing criminal charges in Nebraska and you have been offered a plea bargain, the most important step you can take is to contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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