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What is the advantage of taking a plea bargain?

In Illinois, taking a plea bargain carries several advantages for defendants, defense attorneys and prosecutors. Almost 90 percent of criminal charges are resolved through the plea bargaining process. Prosecutors like plea bargains because they allow them to save time and money for cases they deem more important to take to trial. Defense attorneys like plea bargains because they can save their clients from long jail sentences and more serious charges. Defendants get the benefit of reduced sentences and charges.

Many defendants choose to accept plea offers in order to have certainty in the outcome rather than facing the potential of receiving harsher sentences if they are convicted at trial. Others accept plea bargains in order to get the benefit of reduced penalties.

Some defendants plead guilty so that they can resolve the case quickly whether it is just or not. Others accept plea bargains so that they can receive convictions carrying less social stigma, take care of the matter quickly and avoid publicity. Some people simply want to avoid the hassles associated with taking a case to trial.

Plea bargaining is an accepted practice within the criminal law system. People who are charged with crimes might want to discuss whether or not they might accept a plea bargain with their criminal defense attorneys. It is important to know that the ultimate choice as to whether or not to enter into a plea agreement lies solely with the defendant and not with the attorney. If the defendant chooses to plead not guilty, then the case will likely proceed to trial.

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