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Plea Bargaining Criminal Cases In Los Angeles



One of the most common ways to resolve a criminal case that is filed in Los Angeles is for the defense to enter into a plea bargain negotiation with the prosecutors or the judge or both, talk about the case and come up with some sort of a resolution. The process, in general, has to do with the defense giving the mitigating circumstances to the prosecutors and the judge by way of character letters, the client’s version of events, obviously positive and mitigating towards the client, any mitigating details that the prosecutors might not know because the police did a weak investigation. Knowing the structure and how the District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles operates like a business is a big advantage to a defendant and a criminal defense attorney.

So, when it comes to a plea bargain, the biggest thing is you as a defense attorney have to figure out what types Plea Bargainingof things will actually matter or make a difference to the prosecutor. In doing so, there are a number of different factors you have to take into account, and that is the person’s prior criminal record, what they did in the current case, what type of harm may have come to a victim or victims in the case – a whole slew of different factors that the prosecutors and judges look at.

You also have to consider what jurisdiction you are in. Are you in one of the more harsh jurisdictions as far as plea bargaining goes in LA County or are you in one of the better jurisdictions. You have to look at who you are plea bargaining with. Are you plea bargaining with the prosecutor or are you plea bargaining with the judge? If you are plea bargaining with the prosecutor, which is usually the case, what type of a prosecutor is it? What level of authority do they have? Are they a boss or are they just a general Deputy District Attorney or Deputy City Attorney, and what type of proclivities to they have when it comes to these types of cases that you are dealing with right then? If you can’t work out a deal with them, then you might have to consider going to their boss. Is their boss reasonable? So, you really have to direct and steer a case when it comes to plea bargaining.

You also have to know the right kind of plea bargain. You’re not going to try to plea bargain a case when you don’t have all your ducks in a row – when you don’t have all your mitigating evidence together – because what will end up happening – and a lot of inexperienced, unseasoned attorneys do this – you’ll get an offer on a case that you don’t like and then you’re going to take it back to your client and your client is going to say, what the heck is this? Did you show them my character letters? Did you show them this? Did you show them that? An inexperienced attorney is going to say, no, I didn’t do that, and it’s very hard to un-ring that bell once the prosecutors have made an offer in a case. It could be a horrible offer for your client and now you have to deal with hit.

So, you really have to strategize when you go after these guys to try to convince them of what you want. Sometimes you have to do some damage to their case. For example, you may have to do the preliminary hearing and show them they have problems in their case. You have to do some investigation. Send your investigator out to talk to these so-called witnesses who are giving information against your client. So, until you figure out what type of defense tactics and strategies you can use in order to angle the case in a good light for your client – so you can really get a good plea bargain for your client – is not make any moves as a defense attorney. Don’t do anything stupid that’s going to ruin things. That’s why a defendant will get cheapo attorneys who don’t know what they’re doing. Maybe they have some internet dollars and they can spend a bunch of money on the internet but they don’t have the credentials to back it up. They don’t have the experience. They don’t have the know-how. They don’t have the local connections. They don’t know who they’re dealing with. They don’t understand the type of case. They don’t understand what a case is worth, and now they try to plea bargain and just muddy the water up.

I get hired after-the-fact. I have to go in and un-ring the bell and figure out how to undo what that defense attorney did and that’s not easy to do. That takes real strategy. So, the bottom line is to choose your attorney wisely. Once you have a good attorney, assist them in whatever way they ask you and then let them do the plea bargaining. What I do is get you in and sit down – either in my office or at the courthouse and we talk about the good stuff and the bad stuff. Here’s what you could possibly get. Here’s what you have no chance of getting. Then we figure out what our bottom line is – what we can live with under the circumstances and we do damage control, and I sit down with the prosecutor and I figure out the best way to get what is fair and reasonable and what you must have in your criminal case by way of a plea bargain.

For more information on Plea Bargaining Criminal Cases In LA, a free initial consultation is your best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (213) 374-3952 today.

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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