After an arrest on potentially serious criminal charges, all you want is to make it all go away. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done unless you have irrefutable proof of your innocence.
The overwhelming desire to wish your situation away can lead you to make poor criminal defense decisions. For example, if the state offers you a plea bargain, you might be tempted to accept it because it could end your ordeal faster.
Not all deals serve your best interests
Sometimes, a plea bargain is appropriate and helps you obtain a better outcome. For example, pleading guilty to lesser charges may prevent incarceration. However, not all deals are the bargains you expect and could compromise your rights.
Death penalty. Those charged with homicide or murder can face capital punishment in Alabama and Georgia. The prosecutor in your case may imply that a conviction could result in the death penalty, even when they don’t know that for certain. The prospect of death is scary enough to persuade defendants to accept the bargain.
Pretrial detention. Several studies suggest that defendants detained ahead of a trial are much more likely to accept a plea bargain. That may not be a terrible decision, depending on your alleged offense. However, organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) view pretrial detention as a miscarriage of justice based on the innocent until proven guilty presumption.
Seek guidance before accepting a plea bargain
As mentioned above, some plea bargains benefit defendants by removing harsh penalties (incarceration, etc.). Unless you have a background in criminal law, however, professional guidance is one of the best ways to determine if the proposed deal will help or harm your case.