Plea Bargain FAQ

man signing document plea bargain criminal law fargo north dakota

Criminal cases can be resolved in different ways, such as having the charges dropped pretrial, an acquittal or conviction at trial, or a guilty plea. Many defendants assume that if they committed the offense, their only option is to plead guilty right out of the gate. This is not the case, and you should never enter a guilty plea without first discussing your case with a Fargo criminal defense lawyer, as there might be the possibility for your lawyer to obtain a favorable plea bargain. 

The following are some brief answers to common questions about plea bargains. For information about your specific case, contact our law firm directly. 

What is a Plea Bargain?

A plea bargain is an agreement deal reached with the prosecutor that involves a guilty plea in exchange for a better outcome of your case than you would likely receive at trial. The terms of a plea bargain can be tailored to each specific case and might include:

  • Dropping certain charges if you face multiple accusations
  • Reducing your charges
  • Recommending probation instead of jail time
  • Recommending a deferred imposition of sentence to avoid a conviction on your record

If you are convicted at trial, the prosecutor will often seek the harshest possible penalties. A plea bargain is a way to better control the penalties you might face while avoiding trial. 

Can I Get a Plea Bargain on My Own?

Generally speaking, prosecutors will not negotiate plea bargains directly with unrepresented defendants. Often, prosecutors might try to convince you to plead guilty right from the outset of your case – especially in cases involving lesser offenses. However, they will not inform you that you might be able to get a better outcome with the help of a defense attorney and a plea bargain. Always seek help from an experienced criminal defense attorney who can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. 

Should I Accept a Plea Bargain?

The answer to this question depends on the circumstances of your case. Accepting a plea bargain and pleading guilty might be the best option if the prosecutor has a strong case against you. However, some people face many long-term consequences of a guilty plea, such as harsh immigration consequences. You should discuss all of the implications of a plea bargain with your attorney and carefully consider this decision before you enter a guilty plea. 

Contact a Fargo Criminal Defense Attorney for Help Right Away

Having the counsel and representation of the right lawyer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your criminal case. Do not try to navigate the process alone – contact our experienced Fargo criminal defense lawyer, Tatum O’Brien, by email, or call O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys at 701-235-8000 or toll-free 877-235-8002 today.