How Nine Out of Ten Criminal Cases Are Settled
Though it is a seldom-praised tool of the criminal justice system, plea bargain agreements successfully resolve roughly 90 percent of all criminal cases. Plea agreements are often a tool of last resort because they represent something less than a complete victory for either side of a criminal case. Prosecutors are reluctant to offer lighter sentences for the charged offense, and defendants are hesitant to admit guilt and surrender their right to a full trial.
One of the issues faced by criminal defendants is the level of discretion allowed prosecuting attorneys when charging suspects. In order to charge a suspect, prosecutors need only supply enough evidence to establish probable cause, which is a much lower standard than that needed to win a conviction: proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Because prosecuting attorneys are judged by their conviction rates, this difference in burden-of-proof thresholds may sometimes lead to overcharging criminal defendants so as to secure a plea bargain agreement to the lesser charge.
Though the practice of overcharging is impermissible, because the court system is reluctant to prevent the prosecution from presenting any case supported by probable cause, the reality is that overcharging is a quite common practice. Knowing this, you may have many legal questions regarding your options when facing criminal charges.
In order to secure the best possible legal aid in such circumstances, it’s important to find a criminal defense attorney with experience successfully dealing with over-aggressive prosecutors. You need legal services capable of representing your best interests, and an attorney with the legal skills to secure the best possible outcome. Larry Keller has over 30 years of experience as a criminal defense lawyer specializing in personal injury, DUI, and auto accident cases.
Retain Larry Keller as your legal representation, and “you’ve just found a lawyer who cares!”