Television shows make it seem like most criminal cases go to court, with both sides arguing passionately in front of a jury. In real life, however, most criminal cases are settled in a much less dramatic fashion through a plea bargain. Both the prosecution and the defense tend to prefer plea deals to lengthy court trials, albeit for different reasons.
If you are facing criminal charges in State College, your criminal defense attorney may suggest that you take a plea deal depending on the circumstances of your case. One benefit of accepting a plea deal is that you get to avoid the uncertainty of trial. If you accept a plea deal, you may have to plead guilty to one or more charges. However, the consequences you will be facing are right there in front of you. If you decide to reject the deal and take your chances at trial, you have no idea what will happen. While there is a chance that you may be found not guilty, there is also a chance that you will be found guilty and face a much harsher sentence than what was in the plea deal.
Many defendants also benefit from plea deals in that they end up with reduced charges and less severe penalties. Some plea bargains give you a chance to avoid jail time, which is often seen as one of the most serious penalties you can face. Some deals allow you to plead guilty to a lesser charge, which is better for your permanent record and will not have as much of an effect on your reputation or ability to find employment. In some cases, the prosecutor may not want to reduce the charge, but will instead offer you a lesser sentence.
While there are many advantages to accepting a plea deal for some defendants, it is not necessarily the right move for everyone. A criminal defense attorney can look out for your interests and help you make the best decision for you.