After Indictment and…What About Plea Bargains?
Side Note: You may want to read our article titled; Plea Bargains – The Great American Justice Scam
If the DA does their job and get the indictment on the suspect, then the case will be eligible to go to a court trial and the person will be arraigned (meaning the court will read the charges openly to the defendant). So this is the part to pay close attention to, because now we’ll talk about plea bargaining…
Yes, what about plea bargains? Good deal, bad deal—what’s the story? We have a whole article on that subject (insert link), but in a nutshell, here’s what you ought to understand first.
The well-known fact is that prosecutors are extraordinarily busy and the courts are bogged down, up to their necks in case dockets. Trials are enormously time-consuming and costly, and most of the parties involved are more interested in getting the work off their desk with the least amount of hassle.
Most of the time, no one wants to go through the effort or spend the money to go to lengthy trial, frankly. For this reason, a defendant also has an option to help those overworked DA’s, judges, and juries out by striking a plea bargain…and this is usually exactly what happens.
Note, we are NOT advising for or against plea bargaining. Please consult an attorney prior to making any decisions regarding such deals.
But most cases do get resolved via plea bargaining, because it’s faster and more efficient than the alternative, and often (but not always!) concludes with a more favorable sentencing than a trial might.
Put another way, an indicted defendant may get a lesser sentence if they make a deal, because it saves the court system time and money. So, at least on paper, it appears to be a good choice, and sometimes a defendant is just so tired or baffled that they will do whatever they think is going to get them out of their ordeal as quickly as possible. But this phase is not the time to make a hasty decision.
If the indicted defendant desires to exercise their right to a full trial, then yes, their sentence might be more severe…which, if you think about it, almost seems like a punishment for wanting a trial.
Note, if you were arrested but the indictment is taking a long time, you may have a right to a Personal Recognizance (PR) bond. This just means you’re making a promise to the court that you can be trusted not to flee if released, and that you’ll attend any proceedings that direct you to in the future. Being released on your own recognizance while awaiting potential indictment also means you must not commit any crimes while released…not that anyone should be committing crimes anyhow!