Reeder & Brown, P.C.


Plea Bargaining in Illinois Criminal Cases

 Posted on April 18,2023 in Criminal Law

Joliet Criminal LawyerIf you or a loved one have been accused of a criminal offense, you may be unsure of what to expect next. Most people are only vaguely familiar with the Illinois criminal justice system. They are unsure of how a criminal case progresses or what steps are involved. Many people also have questions about plea bargaining. Plea deals, plea agreements, and plea bargains are all terms used to describe a situation in which a criminal defendant pleads guilty in exchange for some type of benefit. It is important to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages of accepting a plea agreement and when it is in a person's best interest to plead guilty to an offense instead of going to trial.

Examples of Plea Bargains

According to some research, a surprising 98 percent of criminal cases are resolved through plea agreements. Many prosecutors aim to get a criminal defendant to agree to a plea deal because it saves them the time and expense of going to trial. Illinois courts are often backlogged with cases and resolving a case through a plea agreement helps reduce this burden.

When an individual accepts a plea agreement, he or she pleads guilty to a criminal charge. In exchange, the prosecution may reduce the penalties faced by the defendant. For example, a defendant may be given community supervision or probation instead of jail time. In other cases, a person facing multiple charges is given the opportunity to plead guilty to one of the charges and get all of the other charges dropped. A plea agreement may also involve pleading guilty to a lesser offense. For example, suppose a defendant is facing felony charges for aggravated assault. The prosecution may offer a deal in which the defendant pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault and avoids the possibility of significant jail time and the lifelong label of being a felon.

Should I Take a Plea Deal?

If the prosecution offers a plea deal and the defendant turns it down, the case will advance to trial. During the trial, the prosecution and the defense will each have an opportunity to present their cases to the judge or jury. The downside to not accepting a plea agreement is that if the defendant is found guilty, he or she faces the maximum penalty associated with the offense. However, accepting a plea deal means pleading guilty to a crime and giving up the chance to fight for your innocence at trial.

If the chances of securing a not-guilty verdict at trial are good, it may be best to decline a plea deal and take the case to trial. However, if there is substantial evidence against you or your chances of an acquittal are poor, you may want to take the plea deal and avoid the possibility of harsh penalties. A skilled criminal defense lawyer will be able to help you evaluate your options and determine the best option for your unique situation.

Contact Our Joliet Criminal Defense Lawyer

Are you or somebody you care about facing criminal charges? If so, contact the knowledgeable Plainfield criminal defense lawyers at Reeder & Brown, P.C.. We can help you understand your options, negotiate a plea deal, or if needed, represent you in court. Call phone for a free, confidential initial consultation.



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