If you have been arrested or otherwise charged with a criminal offense, you likely feel confused and scared about what your next step should be. Unfortunately, our criminal justice system is not designed for a normal person to navigate or understand without help from a qualified Clearwater criminal defense attorney. One aspect of the criminal defense process that often seems completely alien to those without exposure to the system is the plea negotiation process. An overwhelming majority of criminal cases conclude with a plea agreement, and it is important that you consult with a lawyer who is skilled at negotiating the best outcome for you.
If you are arrested for a crime, it is likely that the police agency and the prosecutors will seek to charge you with the highest offense possible. That is, they will try to saddle you with a criminal charge that carries severe penalties and social stigma if you are convicted. There are many reasons for this strategy. The more serious the criminal charge you are facing, the greater the prosecutor’s leverage against you becomes. Imagine facing a charge with a potential penalty of 30 years in prison. The prosecution will use the fear of that potential penalty to get you to plea to the most serious charge they can justify. This process may seem unfair to you, and it is. That is why seeking counsel from a Clearwater criminal defense attorney with the negotiating skills to even the playing field is essential to your case.
While the prosecution my try to gain the upper hand by charging you with the most serious offense possible, an experienced attorney will be able to negate the state’s initial advantage by conducting a thorough legal and factual investigation into your case. Often, the state’s evidence does not hold up under close scrutiny. Your attorney may uncover facts that prove your innocence or evidence that destroys the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. Other times, your lawyer can identify situations where the police violated your constitutional rights and may file a pretrial motion to suppress evidence or dismiss your case. When you have a diligent Clearwater criminal defense attorney who explores all of these options, you can start to gain an advantage against the prosecution.Negotiating Lesser Offenses
Once your lawyer has investigated your case and explored any legal motions you might be able to file, he or she can also begin negotiating with the prosecution. By showing the prosecution the problems with their case and the issues with their evidence, your lawyer can sometimes successfully negotiate the reduction of charges against you in exchange for a plea. This type of resolution might be extremely beneficial toward you. A dedicated lawyer may be able to negotiate the dismissal of serious felony charges to a more minor misdemeanor. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, your lawyer can sometimes even negotiate the reduction of the charges to a simple traffic infraction. This kind of negotiation can lead to your case being resolved without the need for a costly and stressful trial.Negotiating Lesser Sentences
If you are charged with a serious felony offense, you may be facing mandatory prison time based on your Criminal Punishment Code (CPC) scoresheet or a mandatory minimum sentencing law. A skilled and diligent lawyer may be able to negotiate with the prosecution to reduce your incarceration or eliminate it altogether. In certain cases, if you have information to provide the prosecution about other unsolved crimes or involving more serious offenses than your own, your lawyer can arrange for your production of that information in exchange for a reduction of your own charges or decrease in your sentence.Retain a Clearwater Criminal Defense Attorney to Negotiate on Your Behalf
If you are representing yourself it is extremely unlikely that a prosecutor will negotiate with you or even speak to you. It is important that you consult with an attorney who has a reputation in the legal community for aggressively and intelligently representing his or her clients. The attorneys at Hanlon Law have the skills and reputation to effectively negotiate on your behalf. Call us today at (727) 897-5413.