It isn’t uncommon for defendants in Virginia and other states to receive a plea deal at some point during the legal process. To entice a person to accept a deal, a prosecutor may drop the most serious charges a person faces or offer a reduced sentence on those charges. It is important to note that a judge does not have to accept the terms of any agreement crafted by a defendant and prosecutor.
Furthermore, it is also worth noting that an individual is not required to accept the terms of any deal offered by a prosecutor. Ideally, a defendant will review the terms of the deal with an attorney before deciding whether to accept it or move forward with a trial. Defendants are also encouraged to consider that accepting lighter sentences may still come with consequences, such as registering as a sex offender.
Those who have a previous criminal history may be subject to mandatory minimum sentences even if they agree to plead guilty to lesser charges. There is also a chance that a defendant will admit to minor facts that might play a role in their cases at some point in the future. In many cases, an individual will be given an opportunity to counter any offer made by a prosecutor.
A person who has been charged with a crime generally has the right to hire a criminal defense attorney to help with his or her case. An attorney may be able to review a plea deal to determine if its terms are reasonable based on the facts in the case. Legal counsel may strengthen a person’s negotiating position by having evidence suppressed prior to a trial or by taking other steps that make it harder to prove that a person violated a state law.