Queens County Bar Association
Martindale Hubbell - Distinguished 2023

Why Are Sentences Reduced When Someone Pleads Guilty?

In order to encourage defendants to plead guilty, they will be given reduced sentences in exchange for doing so. When defendants take plea bargains instead of going to court, it saves the court and district attorneys a lot of effort and uncertainty. However, plea bargains are not available in all cases. If the district attorney feels that the case is serious enough, then they will not offer a plea bargain.

Is There A Time Limit On Making A Plea Bargain?

There is no legal time limit on making a plea bargain, but most plea bargains takes place well before a trial.

Does The Judge Have To Accept A Plea Bargain?

The judge does not have to accept a plea bargain. If the judge does not think the punishment is sufficient, he will reject the plea unless the defendant is willing to accept a more severe sentence that the judge feels is appropriate for the crime. Even when a plea is taken with an agreed sentence, the judge will generally impose three conditions on the agreed to sentence: cooperate and be honest with the probation department, don’t get arrested between the time of the plea and the time of the sentence, and show up for sentencing when required to. If the defendant violates any of these conditions, then the judge can impose up to the maximum sentence for the charge.

Can There Be A Plea Bargain Without The Prosecutor’s Approval?

The district attorney has the right to insist that the defendant plead guilty to any and all charges. The court cannot offer any lower plea without the district attorney’s consent. However, if the defendant is willing to plead guilty as charged, the judge can sentence the defendant to as low a sentence as the law allows, even over the objection of the district attorney.

Can A Defendant Plead Guilty Even If He Or She Is Not?

A defendant will be asked questions during the plea process to ensure that he is admitting to having committed the crime to which he is pleading guilty. If the defendant equivocates and states that they are only pleading guilty in order to get the case over with, then the judge will not accept the plea. The only exception to this is when someone takes an Alford plea, which is not common.

Can A Guilty Plea Be Withdrawn?

It is possible to have a guilty plea withdrawn, but it’s very difficult. Once the defendant pleads guilty, the judge will not allow him to withdraw the plea unless the defendant had misunderstandings as to what was involved or what was going to happen as a consequence of pleading guilty. Defendants often seek to withdraw guilty pleas after conviction by filing a motion to withdraw the plea but it’s extremely difficult to get a judge to agree to accept these motions.

What Factors Do You Consider When Advising Clients On Whether Or Not To Take A Plea Deal?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to take a plea deal. These factors include the strength of the district attorney’s case, and potential immigration or employment consequences associated with each option. If the district attorney’s case is very strong and there is no chance that the defendant will win the case, then there would be very little reason to go to trial. In fact, doing so would only worsen the situation. If a client insists that he is completely innocent and is not willing to accept any kind of plea, he really has little choice but to go to trial. It is, however, important for a defendant to know that trial almost always entails the risk of a more serious conviction and longer sentence and always winds up costing substantially more in legal fees and expenses.

For more information on Reduction In Sentence For A Guilty Plea, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (718) 793-5700 today.

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