This is one of the biggest burning questions on people's mind if they're charged with a crime anywhere in California. This is sometimes not the easiest question to answer and you're going to want an answer with the guidance of a season criminal defense attorney who knows you, your case, your criminal record and knows whether or not if you go to jury trial, you can win.
But that's really the evaluation, isn't it? I mean, you have two choices in general in criminal cases when they're filed against you. You either fight the case. Take it to a jury trial and win or you negotiate with the prosecutor and the judge and work out a resolution, take a plea bargain and do the best you can to do whatever it is you're ordered to do, try to get the case dismissed at a later time and move on with your life.
Most Criminal Cases in California Are Resolved by Plea Bargain
When you think about it and realize that over 95% of criminal cases that are filed in Los Angeles are resolved by way of a plea bargain, obviously this is something you want to consider to make a decision, and there's a reason that most cases are resolved by way of a plea bargain, and that reason is that the prosecutors don't file cases unless they really believe that they can prove the case.
If there's problems with the case and they don't think they can win the case, most of the time they're not going to file that case. There's cases that go unfiled every single day.
A lot of times I get cases pre-filed. We do an investigation. We speak to the prosecutors before-hand, send a letter, a mitigation package. Give them out investigation. I've pulled witnesses that the police couldn't find, give it to the prosecutors.
They look at it and say we're not filing this case. Hedding's going to beat us. He's going to win the case. We can't beat them, so why file it? We're not going to waste the taxpayer's money on a case that's no good.
So, if they file the case, the prosecutors actually think they can win and think they have the evidence, and most of the time they do. Not all of the time; sometimes they're wrong. Sometimes they rely too much on the police who don't do a very good investigation.
Remember, the police aren't lawyers, so they don't know a lot of the times some of the problems that you can run into on some of these cases, depending on how complicated they are.
If somebody robs a bank and the police grab the guy coming out, that's not very complicated. There may or may not be an argument, but they're not going to get into the ins-and-outs of certain issues related to a situation like that.
They're going to arrest the person, take witness statements, pull video from the bank that the person's robbed, and then they're going to turn it over to the prosecutors and let them deal with it.
But there are some cases where something happened. There's a bunch of witnesses around. It's a he-said/she-said situation and evidence could go either way, and if the police don't do they're job and don't pull all the witnesses, then that's obviously going to be a problem.
Examining All The Case Details and Prior Criminal Record
So, when you sit down and really think about a plea bargain, here's some of the factors that the prosecutors are going to look at:
Number one, they're going to look at what you did in this particular case. How dangerous was it? How serious was it? What was the impact to a particular person, the public, society? The second thing they're going to look at is, do you have a criminal record. If so, what type of a criminal record?
Are you doing the same thing over and over again? Do you have any prior strikes on your record? Or, do you have a clean record? Those are two huge factors the prosecutors and judges look out in deciding what type of a plea bargain to offer your attorney.
Once that's offered to your attorney, he or she can sit down with you and you can discuss whether or not that's something you want to take. Or, you can make a counter-offer. Now, not every case a counter-offer is applicable.
In other words, sometimes the prosecutors offer you the best they're going to offer and that's it and your attorney is sophisticated enough to realize that, so they suggest that you take the deal.
Other times your attorney gets to the prosecutor before they even make the offer, so they know whatever they offer is going to be the best offer. It really just depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.
I can't tell you how many times people come to me and are claiming that well, that's only the first offer and they're going to make a better one. They don't realize sometimes the first offer comes from the head DA and it's not getting changed by anybody unless they want to get fired.
Retain a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
So, you really have to have the pulse of a case to know whether or not a plea bargain that has been offered is fair and whether or not you can get a better offer, and of course, finally, whether or not that's the type of plea bargain you should take based on the circumstances of your case.
So, if you or a loved on find yourselves in a tough spot. You've got a situation where you're in one of the Los Angeles criminal courts, you're looking for an attorney. You're looking to decide whether or not a plea bargain makes sense or not based on your particular circumstances, pick up the phone, make the call to the Hedding Law Firm, we'll sit down and get the ball moving in the right direction.