Plea Bargains – Gerald R Stahl is Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer
What are Plea Bargains?
In Michigan, criminal defense lawyers and prosecutors often engage in the practice known as plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is a situation where both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer meet and discuss all aspects of a criminal case and determine whether there is a common ground upon which a resolution of the case can be reached short of a trial. A plea bargain can take the form of a sentence bargain, a reduction in the charge to a lesser-included offense, a complete dismissal of the case with restitution or any number of other possibilities. Neither party, the defense lawyer nor the prosecutor, are obligated to engage in any type of plea bargain. Plea bargaining is simply a matter of negotiations and can be favorable to both sides depending on the circumstances.
Here is an example of plea bargains:
Assume that ‘Spike’ comes into the office having been arrested for drunk driving. In Michigan , the legal minimum blood/alcohol level for a drunk driving offense is .08. After a breathalyzer ‘Spike’ achieves a result of .13. ‘Spike’ also receives a ticket for speeding and for improper license plate registration. ‘Spike’ confesses his guilt to his attorney on all three crimes. The attorney accepts representation and proceeds to a plea bargain. The attorney meets with the prosecutor at a pretrial conference and attempts to convince the prosecutor that a plea agreement would avoid a trial and still result in substantial penalties to ‘Spike’. Thus, he requests that the prosecutor dismiss the speeding ticket and improper license plate registration in return for a successful plea on a reduced charge of Impaired Driving. The prosecutor agrees.
This is only an example of what could happen. Each prosecutor in each city, county and state is different in how they treat different types of offenses. In most cases, prosecutors are extremely hesitant to reduce any drunk driving case. The main reason for this is that drunk driving cases are easier for the prosecutors to prove with the advent of breathalyzers and blood tests.
Another example of plea bargains:
A defendant in Michigan may come into an attorney’s office and confess his complete innocence, yet a plea bargain may be considered by the defense lawyer and the defendant. Lets say a defendant, ‘Roland’, is accused of felonious assault for breaking a beer bottle over a victim’s head while outside of a dance nightclub. The attorney accepts the case and reviews the police report.The police report reveals that ‘Roland’ was alone in the parking lot when he claimed to be attacked by the victim and his two friends. However, the victim and his two friends made statements that indicate that they were out in the parking lot when the victim accidentally tripped and bumped into ‘Roland’ who was extremely intoxicated and subsequently hit the victim with the beer bottle. ‘Roland’, although intoxicated, claims that while exiting the bar the victim threatened to punch him while his friends surrounded him three-to-one. But ‘Roland’ has no witnesses to his story and admits to being somewhat intoxicated on the night in question. The defense attorney and prosecutor meet. The attorney explains that ‘Roland’ was defending himself while the prosecutor points out the conflicting statements. The prosecutor admits that three-on-one can be intimidating, but that neither the victim nor his friends possessed weapons of any kind. The police report also reveals a criminal record on the victim as well as one of his two friends from previous assault cases. The defense lawyer suggests a compromise where ‘Roland’ would plead no contest or guilty to a charge of creating a disturbance. The prosecutor agrees.
This is a dramatically favorable result for ‘Roland’, despite the fact that he felt that he was not guilty in the first place. The original charge against ‘Roland’ is a four year felony, which would follow him for a lifetime. The reduced charge under the plea bargain of creating a disturbance is most likely to lead to fines and costs under a misdemeanor charge. Not only does this save ‘Roland’ the risk of jail or prison time, but also saves him the costs and lawyers fees of a trial.
The plea bargaining to creating a disturbance most likely fits the actions of ‘Roland’ despite the fact that he may have been defending himself. After all, he was in possession of an open container in public and admits that he was intoxicated. In any event, most lawyers under the circumstances would explain the options to ‘Roland’ and would earn their fees with a favorable result such as the final outcome of creating a disturbance. Although ‘Roland’ would never be bound to accept this plea bargain, his attorney would most likely recommend that he accept the plea bargain agreement.
Before Agreeing to Any Plea Bargains – “Better Call Stahl” Grand Rapids Criminal Defense Lawyer
Attorney Gerald R Stahl is a Grand Rapids criminal defense lawyer that has been helping people charged with crimes ranging from Homicide to DUI for over 30 years. He has handled high profile cases in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan, the surrounding counties since 1982. Gerald R Stahl is conveniently located in Grand Rapids on East Beltline near Knapp’s Corner and the 63rd District Court.
- Criminal Defense
- Attacks on Evidence
- Criminal Sexual Conduct
- Domestic Violence
- Drug Issues
- Firearm Statutes in Michigan
- Homicide/Murder Defense in Michigan
- Michigan Driving Issues
- Terms & Topics