The term “plea bargain” implies that it offers some real benefit for the person considering accepting it. Prosecutors offer plea bargains as a way to keep cases out of court and get a conviction.

In exchange for admitting guilt, those accepting a plea bargain typically face reduced charges. If you are facing serious criminal charges, a plea bargain might seem like a gift that will help keep you out of jail. However, plea bargains may benefit the state more than you and leave you struggling to move on with your life.

A plea deal means accepting a lasting criminal record

When you accept a plea bargain, you admit to a crime, even if you know you are innocent. You may feel like the fact that the prosecutor reduced the charges may benefit you. However, that benefit will be less than you might imagine.

When you plead guilty, anyone with a reason to review your criminal record will reasonably assume that you were guilty of the more significant offense that you were initially charged with, which will be part of the public record. Just because you can plead down to a misdemeanor, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to accept a job if the company refuses to work with those guilty of felonies.

Defending against charges may offer a brighter future

Plea bargains may seem tempting because they let you avoid court, which can drastically reduce the amount of time and money you have to spend on the allegations against you. In the long term, however, the impact of your guilty plea could have substantial financial consequences and complicate your life to a degree where you struggle to find housing or employment.

For many people who maintain their innocence after facing criminal charges, developing a defense strategy with your attorney instead of accepting a plea bargain could be the best option.