How plea bargains work in federal cases

On Behalf of | Jul 23, 2020 | Firm News

Kentucky residents and others who are facing federal criminal charges may be offered a plea bargain. A plea deal allows a person to receive a lighter sentence in exchange for admitting his or her guilt. Allowing defendants to take a deal means that their cases can be resolved in less time, which helps to ensure that the court system can operate more smoothly. Defendants benefit from accepting a plea because they have more certainty over the outcome of their cases.

It is important to note that prosecutors don’t always have the ability to offer a deal. This is because some federal crimes come with mandatory minimum sentences. In some cases, a plea deal cannot be offered unless the Department of Justice (DOJ) agrees to the terms. Depending on the circumstances, multiple government agencies may be required to approve the terms of a proposed deal because it can be offered to a defendant.

it is important to note that a prosecutor cannot threaten to seek the death penalty merely because a defendant refuses to agree to a plea deal. In many cases, federal prosecutors are not allowed to accept an Alford plea in which a person pleads guilty to a crime that he or she doesn’t admit to committing. Depending on the circumstances of a given case, prosecutors may be required to submit any facts being used to establish that a defendant is guilty.

Those who are charged with tax evasion or other federal offenses may be subject to a variety of penalties if convicted. These penalties may include paying a fine or restitution, spending many years in prison or being put to death. An attorney may help a defendant negotiate a plea deal that may allow that individual to avoid some or all of those penalties.