If you or someone you know has ever had a run-in with the criminal justice system in La Grange, Georgia, you may have heard about or been offered the option to enter a plea bargain. In a plea bargain, the accused is offered an arrangement by the prosecutor in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser charge and, in exchange, is given a less harsh sentence or the prosecutor agrees to drop other charges against him or her. While sometimes a plea bargain is the best legal decision for a defendant, often times it is not. And across America, way too many innocent defendants are taking plea bargains for the wrong reasons, negatively affecting the rest of their lives.
The Issues with Plea Bargains in Georgia
Because Georgia prosecutors often make it seem as though taking a plea bargain will make the entire problem disappear, even innocent defendants end up agreeing to a plea bargain to their detriment. Indeed, research shows that fewer than 10 percent of criminal cases go before a trial in American courtrooms; meaning that 90 percent of defendants plead guilty instead of taking their case to a jury in the United States.
The biggest reason for La Grange defendants to take a plea bargain is the fear of threat of a possible conviction and sentencing. Typically, plea bargains result in probation. Unfortunately, probation places the accused at the mercy of a probation officer who subjectively determines whether or not the person is in compliance. If the officer decides probation has been violated, the accused then ends up in a Georgia court once more and probation is revoked. The unfortunate reality, however, is that the burden placed on the state to prove a violation of probation is much lower than that of an initial criminal charge.
In order to be found guilty of a criminal charge in La Grange – and the rest of the country – the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. On the contrary, the burden of proof to establish a violation of probation is a preponderance of the evidence. Simply put, this burden is much easier to meet – the standard of proof is equal to showing that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred. As a result, the accused is at the mercy of the probation officer, who can determine that a violation has happened, throw the accused in jail, and ultimately revoke probation. For this reason, you should never plead guilty to a crime that you did not commit.
Criminal Defense Help in Lagrange, Georgia
If you or someone you care about has been arrested and accused of committing a crime in La Grange, Georgia, do not try to fight the criminal justice system on your own. Know that you do not have to take a plea bargain in Colorado. The time to seek out and obtain legal representation in La Grange is now. The LaGrange, Ga criminal defense attorneys at Moffitt Law, LLC have dedicated their careers to representing the accused. Contact us today.