Very few Minnesota criminal charges end up going to trial. The majority of them are typically resolved with a plea bargain. So, what is a plea bargain and how does it work?
A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and defendant to resolve the matter with a plea by the defendant in exchange for certain sentencing terms. The agreement can have a number of terms, including the length of the sentence or modification of the charge. Here are a few areas a plea bargain covers:
Duration of Sentence: the length of the sentence, possibly including a downward departure
Stay of Execution, Stay of Imposition, and Stay of Adjudication: the plea may allow for one of these stays. These allow a defendant to avoid serving the full sentence in custody, reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor upon successful completion of probation, or receive a dismissal and avoid a conviction entirely.
Modification of Charge: many plea bargains allow for a charge to be reduced. For example, a drunk driving charge might be reduced to careless driving.
Dismissal of Other Charges: many plea bargains also provide for the dismissal of other charges that the defendant might face.
Why take a plea bargain?
A plea bargain usually allows a defendant to obtain a better result than if they went to trial and lost. In exchange for waiving their opportunity to challenge the offense and saving judicial resources, many prosecutors will give the defendant a reduced sentence or more favorable outcome.
If you are facing a criminal charge, should you take a plea bargain and how do you know it’s a good one? The best course of action is to hire an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney. St. Paul Criminal Defense Lawyer Eric Rice offers free consultations. You can reach him at 651-998-9660.