- What is a plea bargain?.
- Plea bargains in Colorado should not be made lightly.
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- What Happens at a Plea Hearing?!
A plea bargain may be defined as a contract that is legally binding between a criminal defendant and the state. It is a contract that settles the criminal charge or charges against the defendant. We see trials on television because trials are potentially dramatic, but here in Colorado, fewer than five percent of the charges filed by prosecutors actually become formal courtroom trials.
Plea negotiations may take place before a suspect is formally charged or subsequent to charges being filed. A plea bargain can be offered after a trial begins or at any time before a verdict is returned. Like any negotiation, the first plea bargain offer from a prosecutor probably is not an offer that a defendant should accept.
Plea agreements also give each side more control over the case, because no third party — that is, no jury — is involved, and the behavior of a jury is always impossible to predict.
Without the use of plea bargains, the criminal court system — in all fifty states — would quickly become unworkable. Over ninety percent of the criminal convictions in the United States are the products of plea bargains. Colorado prosecutors use guidelines that specify precisely how plea bargains are to be offered and negotiated. Sentencing agreements: A defendant pleads guilty or no contest to a charge in return for a reduced sentence.
Charge agreements: A defendant pleads guilty to a reduced charge, and the original charge is dropped. In Colorado, for example, a first-time DUI offender may be allowed to plead guilty to wet reckless, and the state in return will dismiss the DUI charge. Count agreements: A defendant pleads guilty to one or several original charges, and the state in return dismisses any other charges.
A plea deal in Colorado can even be negotiated after a trial, if the trial concludes with a hung jury, and either the state or the defense does not wish to go through a second trial. Just like a guilty plea, a no contest plea means a conviction. An admission of guilt in a criminal case means that a civil court will almost certainly find the defendant liable in any civil case that arises from the crime. A defense lawyer who routinely negotiates on behalf of clients will know what offer to accept and what offers should be rejected.
Of course, if you are not guilty of the crime, you should not accept any plea offer or make any agreement.
Why Plea Bargain at All?
Not necessarily. With a Colorado adult diversion plea bargain, you enter treatment before charges are filed or before the prosecution gets very far. You must enter a guilty plea, however, in order to obtain certain forms of relief such as Colorado deferred sentencing. However, if you successfully complete a diversion program, the charges will be dismissed and you can have your record sealed.
Plea Bargaining – Am I Safe When Talking to the District Attorney?
A Colorado nolo contendere plea means you are not admitting or denying the charge, but are accepting the consequences as if there had been a conviction often to a lesser charge. Unfortunately, for most purposes, a plea of nolo contendere counts as a conviction in Colorado. However, it may be useful in cases in which you are legally required to disclose a conviction but are allowed to explain it such as disclosing a felony conviction on job applications. There is no set answer as to when or whether you should accept a plea bargain. Remember — the prosecutor is not offering a deal out of the goodness of his or her heart.
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- Plea bargains in Colorado should not be made lightly!
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- Why Do Most Criminal Cases End With Plea Bargains?.
The prosecutor will only offer a deal that he or she believes is in the government's best interest. This is why it is so important to retain an experienced criminal lawyer to help you assess and negotiate your Colorado plea deal. Your attorney can advise you on whether he or she thinks the deal can be improved and what the possible outcomes are if you take your case to trial. Together you and your Colorado defense lawyer will discuss the options and decide what you can and can't live with. In the end, however, only you can determine whether the benefits of a plea deal outweigh the risks of trial.
After a plea agreement is worked out between the prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer, the prosecutor presents it to the judge with the recommendation that the court accepts it. Factors the judge will consider may include:. If the plea bargain is accepted, it will be entered into the record in open court with the defendant present. Otherwise, the judge will notify the parties that the court is rejecting the agreement.
If the court rejects the agreement, the prosecutor and defense attorney are free to try again. In general, once you sign a plea deal, you may not change your mind.
An Overview of the Plea Bargain Process in Criminal Cases in Colorado - The Brighton Buzz
Our Denver and Golden criminal defense lawyers can review the circumstances surrounding your plea deal to see if relief may be available. Your Colorado plea agreement will set forth the consequences for violating its terms. However, if you have a good excuse for violating the terms of the plea bargain, the judge may let you off the hook If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime and would like to discuss your options, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.
Colorado In-Depth It is normal to be frightened and overwhelmed following an arrest. California Nevada. What is a plea bargain? When does a Colorado plea bargain occur? How are Colorado plea bargains negotiated? How long does a plea bargain take? What are the advantages to a plea bargain? What sentencing alternatives are available through a plea bargain?
What are the disadvantages of a plea bargain? Do I have to plead guilty in order to get a plea deal? When should I accept a plea bargain?