Skip to main content

Why do most criminal cases and VOP end in plea deal? Why aren't many taken to court?

Tampa, FL |

Is it just a "sweet and short" way to end a criminal case? Sorry, if I offend anyone, but maybe laziness to do the hard work? As I am reading about plea deals, the more I come across that people regret it afterwards because they plead guilty to something they don't feel guilty about and have a criminal record because of it. It cannot be reversed or altered etc....
How much of a difference is there really between a plea deal or if in the worst scenario you are being found guilty by the judge? I can't imagine that it is a huge difference, because a prosecutor also wants a fair punishment and not just a "sweet" deal.

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

The system cannot accommodate a trial for everyone, in fact the system can only handle about 6% of its cases going to trial and it is at the brink of collapse. This means that 96% of all cases get worked out or pled either by a negotiated plea or by a plea to the Court.

Usually, in a case that goes to trial, when the Defendant is found guilty, the Judge will not re-offer the offer that was given prior to trial. In fact, after a trial, the results in most cases but not all of the time, are much harsher. Although a Judge is constantly warned by the appellate courts not to "punish a person for going to trial", the Judge can always say the plea was offered before hearing all of the facts of the case, and it was "hearing the facts of the case" that resulted in the harsher sentence.

Knowing this, an attorney prepares a case for trial. A good attorney pushes his cases all the way to the brink and even tries some cases regularly. This type of "aggressive attorney" pumps up his client for a victory and has the "victory mindset" and pushes forward like a freight train - until the Assistant State Attorney Prosecuting the Case makes him an offer he can't refuse. Otherwise, the attorney goes forward.

Prosecutors are limited in the time they have to try a case. Defendant's have rights to a speedy trial, and if not honored, cases get dismissed. Thus, a prosecutor is under the gun as is a defendant. This type of dynamic makes the system work to get the Defendant a result which is in his or her best interests while allowing the "machine of arrests and cases" to continue to flow thorough the State Attorney's Offices.

A person watching TV shows and listening to History and Government class teachers in school has an idea of what the Court system should be. Everyone has the right to a trial. This is far from the reality of the "system". It's mainly the fault of legislators, who make funding the court system the last of priorities. This takes tax dollars and it's not popular to raise taxes to get justice for someone else - until it's your turn to use the system.

So, the bottom line is it's not lazy lawyers or judges that cause so many cases to result in plea negotiations, it's the lack of resources available to dedicate to try such a high number of cases. They system is bursting at the seams. If a Defendant wants to "risk it" and take a case to trial, the Defendant does not have to agree to take a plea. A long colloquy is usually done where the Judge explains what is happening, what will happen as a result of taking the plea, all of the potential consequences of taking the plea and determines that the Defendant is knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily entering the plea before taking it.

This is why a defendant can't just come back later when it's convenient for him or her and "take back" the plea. Once you enter into a plea agreement and Plead out your case, you are stuck with your decision forever, so don't take that too lightly. Ask plenty of questions and make sure you deem it in your best interests to do so.

If this answer helped you, please be so kind as to mark it "helpful" or "best answer". This would be greatly appreciated. Remember, this is not legal advice from Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes, or the Ticket Law Center in Miami, Florida and there is no attorney client privilege created in this communication. Don't squeal on yourself by making admissions on this public website. Only ask theoretical questions of a general nature for your own protection.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

3 lawyers agree

1 comment

Asker

Posted

I wished more attorneys were like you in explaining and communicating....it would help many many clients and their families while going through legal issues, not only in legal but also in emotional ways, with all their thoughts and worries. An extra word of explanation would then again help the attorney, because they would feel more at ease and give the attorney more room to work without asking them questions ask the time because they have a good understanding, don't feel like their mind is exploding from so many thoughts and worries.

Posted

Most criminal cases an vops end in a plea deal because it is in the best interest of the defendant to do so, voluntarily. Each case is different and each case demands the attention of a qualified attorney. To suggest that me and my colleagues are lazy and do not do the hard work is highly inaccurate. We welcome the challenge and do the research that is vital to defending anyone charged with crime. We welcome the challenge to take depositions and ask difficult questions to all of the witnesses. We welcome the challenge of going to trial and doing our best to defeat the State. I once got a not guilty verdict from the jury in just 6 minutes. I guess that I must have been convincing. We have to have a doctorate degree before we can even take the bar exam. We keep America free, and without the criminal defense bar, I assure you, the police state would be destroying your front door and invading your home.

R. Jason de Groot, Esq. We do not have an attorney-client relationship. I am not your lawyer. The statements I make do not constitute legal advice. Any statements made by me are based upon the limited facts you have presented, and under the premise that you will consult with a local attorney. This is not an attempt to solicit business. This disclaimer is in addition to any disclaimers that this website has made. I am only licensed in Florida.

Mark as helpful

1 found this helpful

8 lawyers agree

Posted

I agree with the above answer. Usually it's in the best interest of the defendant.

This is a general discussion of legal principles by a Louisiana lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

1 comment

Jerome Weldon Matthews Jr

Jerome Weldon Matthews Jr

Posted

also, there is a big difference. In in armed robbery if the da is offering the minimum sentence and there is enough evidence 15 years is a good deal. if found guilty at trial, the exposure is 99 years, and the sentence would usually be in the middle of that.

Posted

If a Defendant invokes the right to go to trial or have a VOP hearing and are found guilty by a jury or found to be in violation by the Judge then that Judge can sentence the defendant up to the maximum prison sentence. If a Defendant decides to take a "deal" that's a choice made by the Defendant. The decision to resolve any case rests with the client, not the attorney.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

Posted

It is a question of managing risk and not laziness. The outcome can be far worse at the end of a lost trial, then accepting a plea where the outcome is certain. The sentence at the end of a trial that is lost, is almost always worse than the offer someone could have had. The final decision always rests with the client, so I wouldn't judge others decisions too harshly If they don't have the same "gambling" spirit you seem to express.

Mark as helpful

4 lawyers agree

1 comment

Kathryn Mary Holton

Kathryn Mary Holton

Posted

Great answer!

Posted

Agree with all counsel who have answered. It is my sincere hope that they have enlightened you a bit as to the reality. I have yet to meet a criminal lawyer after 25 years who doesn't welcome a challenge to go to trial. Most defense Attorney's care about the welfare of their client and give them the best legal advice with the evidence that the prosecutor would present to a jury. prosecutors usually don't proceed with cases where the evidence is sufficient to convict for a higher sence. I know I did not when I was A prosecutor, and therefore offered a lesser sentence . So, while we have CSI and all the law shows entertaining the masses, the reality is very serious. Most defendants/accused opt having been fulling informed of taking a plea bargain versus going to trial with the risk of a much higher sentence. We lawyers know that our clients have selective hearing and understandably hear 1/4 of what we say, so we put in writing. Years later, as we know the lawyer is the built in scape goat. this job is not for the faint of heart or one who doesn't care about humanity.

Providing general answers are meant to help the poster to understand some complex legal concepts and in no way creates an attorney-client relationship.

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

1 comment

Kathryn Mary Holton

Kathryn Mary Holton

Posted

It is highly unlikely you offended any of us with the lazy comment. Haven't meet a lazy lawyer yet. Have noticed overworked unpaid lawyers a plenty.

Criminal defense topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics