The Ethical Considerations Involved in Plea Bargaining
Plea bargaining is a practice within the criminal justice system. A plea bargain is a process in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge, or receive a lighter sentence, in exchange for cooperating with the prosecution.
Is plea bargaining ethical?
The legal process can often be long, drawn-out, and complicated. Plea bargains are one way for the criminal justice system to work just a little bit faster– they allow cases to be resolved much more quickly and efficiently.
However, asking a defendant to plead guilty for a crime that they didn’t necessarily commit has some complex ethical implications that it’s important to examine.
How does coercion factor into the plea bargaining process?
Coercion is, unfortunately, a very real part of the plea bargaining process. Offering a defendant the chance to lessen their sentencing or receive a lesser charge, in exchange for cooperation, is coercion itself, in a way.
A defendant who wishes to avoid a long and uncertain trial will most likely feel pressured to accept a plea bargain, even if they are completely innocent.
Some prosecutors may use the threat of a more severe sentence to convince a defendant to accept a plea bargain– which means innocent defendants pleading guilty and receiving a criminal record, even if they did not commit the crime.
How does plea bargaining affect victims and their families?
If a plea bargain is offered to a defendant who did commit a crime against an individual, the plea bargaining process might strike the victim or their family as unjust. They might believe that the defendant should face the full extent of the law based on their alleged crime.
When someone who’s committed a serious crime receives a lighter sentence as a result of a plea bargain, this may cause the victim’s family to believe that the justice system does not serve them– or its real purpose– which may even result in them losing faith in the justice system entirely.
Is plea bargaining fair?
The concept of plea bargaining can be fairly complex. As with most cases within the criminal justice system, there is no “one size fits all” approach to sentencing.
Of course defendants should be treated fairly, and justice should be served in each case. In some cases, plea bargaining can be a net positive for everyone involved in the case– but that’s certainly not true of every criminal trial.
When offering a plea bargain, it’s very important that the courts fully consider the crime, the victims, and the implications of the plea bargain versus the original sentencing, in order to arrive at an appropriate and just solution.
Should I accept a plea bargain?
The choice whether or not to accept a plea bargain ultimately rests in the hands of the defendant.
However, this is definitely an issue that should be discussed at length with an attorney. If you did not commit the crime, accepting a plea bargain and adding that sentencing to your record might have a negative impact on the rest of your life, including the opportunity to secure things like employment and housing.
If you’re dealing with a criminal trial currently and are concerned about the ethicality of accepting a plea bargain, it’s time to work with an attorney who’s experienced and prepared to fight for your rights in court. Please give the experts here at Digby Law Firm a call today, or send us a message, to get started– we’re on your side.
What Should I Expect When Working with a Child Custody Lawyer?
If you and your ex can come to an agreement outside of court, the process will be less expensive, shorter, and less emotionally damaging for everyone involved. But if you do end up in court, the judge’s job is to decide which parent is more willing and able to care for the child(ren) – and that’s who will be given primary custody. If you wish it, and if you’re both deemed equally able, you may be granted shared custody. A badass child custody lawyer will make sure that the outcome is fair and that the proceedings don’t get out of hand.
The length of time your case takes, visitation concerns and whether or not you qualify for child support vary from case to case. So be sure to ask your lawyer about anything you have concerns about.
In fact, a truly bad-ass child custody lawyer will welcome any and all questions. We want to make sure that you feel as comfortable and confident as possible – so here are a few to help you get started:
- How many years have you been practicing?
- What is your experience with cases like mine?
- What is the most difficult part of my case?
- What is the process for handling this case?
- Will you handle my custody case, or will another attorney at the firm be handling it?
- How will you keep me informed throughout the process?
- Can I have a written copy of the fee agreement?
- Do you spend at least 90% of your time on family law/child custody cases?
- How much will the legal representation cost?
- Will I receive copies of all the documents pertaining to my case?
- Will my calls be returned promptly?
A good lawyer will be able to answer all of these questions, and any others that you might have, clearly and in a way that makes you feel heard and comfortable.
If you’re looking for a badass child custody lawyer in Arkansas, look no further! Just contact the Digby Law Firm and schedule your free consultation today.
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