Pitfalls of Plea Bargains in NJ
- February 28, 2012
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Often clients are offered plea bargains with the information that if they do not accept the plea they will not receive the same deal and, likely, informed by the prosecutor that, if they force the prosecutor to try the case, the prosecutor will seek maximum allowable penalties. Although plea bargains can be a good alternative for a client who is truly guilty when the State of New Jersey has substantial and compelling evidence which it obtained without violating the defendant’s rights. In other cases, a plea agreement can sound like a quick and painless alternative to a lengthy and expensive trial with the possibility of a guilty verdict and greater charges but a plea is not always the best alternative.
In deciding whether to accept a plea agreement, a defendant must consider the implications of the plea on their future and lifestyle. Pleading guilty to certain offenses can result in outcomes from onerous to disastrous to the defendant. For example, pleading guilty to a domestic violence charge can result in the inability to own or purchase a gun. Pleading guilty to a crime of moral turpitude, CDS offenses, domestic violence, firearms and prostitution can result in inability to obtain a green card or deportation. Pleading guilty to any sex crime, even if the defendant is a juvenile, will result in mandatory registry according to Megan’s Law. Furthermore, pleas usually require some admission of guilt and even a plea to the most minor offense begins a criminal record which can then be used in the event of later sentencing for other, future, charges.
Even though probation may seem like a great deal, the defendant must consider the entire situation prior to accepting a plea. For more information on criminal matters and guilty pleas in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com