When Does The Prosecutor Generally Offer A Plea Deal In A Criminal Case?

Last updated on April 29, 2024

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An offer of a plea bargain can come at just about any time during a criminal case, however, most prosecutors are not completely familiar with the case in the early stages so most offers are made after some time has passed. For a more basic matter, it should only take a little while for the prosecutor to review the case, get up to speed, and consider what they’re going to offer. It’s been my experience that the offers tend to be more favorable when you have hired somebody who has a reputation for being an exceptional criminal defense attorney. Prosecutors realize that no case where I represent the defendant is a slam dunk. They may make an offer early on, but as they get closer to actually having to try the matter the offers tend to get better.

There is something of a myth that goes around: some people believe that a prosecutor always makes 3 offers. I don’t know why 3 has become the magic number, but there is no such requirement. Sometimes multiple offers are made, sometimes they make only one offer and stick with it, and occasionally there’s no offer given. Jason Bassett, an experienced Suffolk County criminal defense lawyer with a reputation for not being afraid to take a case to trial, gives you the best chance of getting the best possible plea offer. 

If you’re in need of skilled legal representation and guidance, the Law Offices of Jason Bassett is here for you. Contact us at (631) 259-6060 to discuss your case and let us work together to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.

What Factors Do You Consider In Determining Whether To Accept a Plea Offer Or Not?

The first things we take a look at are what evidence the prosecution could offer at a trial and what the likelihood of conviction might be. You also have to consider the client’s criminal record; some criminal convictions can be used against a defendant if they testify at a trial and certain prior criminal convictions can increase the sentence a defendant may face. Another thing you have to consider is what degree of risk can a person accept. Some people would prefer to take a plea bargain for a sure thing and avoid a possibly stiffer sentence, while someone else may prefer to go to trial.

How Long Do You Have To Accept A Plea Deal?

Plea bargains are an integral part of the criminal justice system, yet individuals who are not familiar with them often struggle to understand how they work. A criminal defense lawyer can provide insight into the strengths and weaknesses of your case, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of accepting a plea deal. However, the timing for making such decisions can be quite unpredictable.

Typically, a person facing criminal charges has the opportunity to consider and potentially accept a plea deal up until the arraignment. If the defendant chooses to decline the plea offer at the arraignment, they enter a plea of not guilty, resulting in the withdrawal of the initial plea offer, and the case is then scheduled for trial.

Most plea offers come with an established expiration date, typically set within a few months of the offer’s issuance. Once the original plea offer expires, the prosecutor can choose to either extend the same offer or present a new plea deal with potentially less favorable terms.

When it comes to the crucial decision of accepting a plea deal, timing is crucial. Understanding your rights and weighing the implications of such an agreement requires legal guidance. A Suffolk County criminal defense lawyer can provide you with the clarity and support you need. With years of experience, Jason Bassett can equip you with the information necessary to make an informed decision that serves your best interests. Contact the Law Offices of Jason Bassett today to schedule a consultation.

How Common Is It For Criminal Cases To Go All The Way To Trial In New York?

This is actually something that’s been studied quite a bit. There is a phenomenon that’s been referred to as the “Trial Penalty” – it’s the idea that people are punished so much more severely after trial than what they would have received had they pled guilty that they are virtually coerced into pleading guilty (there is some debate as to whether or not this is a violation of a person’s Sixth Amendment Right to a Trial). Considering what one often risks by not accepting a plea deal, it’s not all that common for people to take their cases to trial. People charged with crimes are put in a position that they are too afraid of the potential penalties to exercise their rights and will accept a bad plea deal. This situation is only made worse if they have hired an attorney who quite frankly doesn’t take cases to trial. The lawyer knows that they’re not a particularly good trial attorney and the prosecutors know it too. The prosecutors will not offer those attorneys the best possible deals because they know they don’t need to in order to close their case – those defense attorneys will take any deal they can get.

As for myself, because I have spent my career gaining a reputation as an Exceptional Trial Attorney, prosecutors offer my clients the best possible plea bargains because they realize I will test their case to the limit and a “Not Guilty” verdict is always a very real possibility.

Will Going To Trial Put Me At Risk Of Facing A Harsher Sentence Than If I Took The Plea?

That is possible. The entire lure of a plea bargain is that you are offered less than the maximum penalty that you could face if you were to go to trial. The prosecution’s case must be put under a microscope by an Experienced Criminal Defendant Attorney before you can make an informed decision as to whether you should proceed to trial or to accept a plea offer.

What Should I Expect Throughout The Trial Process In My Criminal Case In New York?

The trial process begins with jury selection. At the Federal Level, the judge asks all the questions of the potential jurors. In State Court, both the prosecutor and the defense attorney are allowed to question the potential jurors directly as part of a process known as “voir dire”. After the potential jurors are questioned, each side can challenge and seek to remove a potential juror “for cause,” meaning that potential juror has expressed some sort of bias or otherwise demonstrated an inability to be fair and impartial. Each side is also given a certain number of what are called “peremptory challenges” – these challenges can be exercised and a juror can be removed without any reason having to be given (the only exceptions being jurors can’t be removed simply on the basis of race or gender).

Once a jury of the required number of jurors is selected and sworn in, the judge will give the jury some preliminary instructions on the law. The trial will then proceed to the opening statements, during which the prosecution and the defense will tell the jury what they expect the evidence with show. At both the State and the Federal level, the prosecution goes first. While the defense is allowed to reserve their opening statement until the close of the prosecution’s case, that right is very rarely exercised. It’s commonly considered very important that the jury hears the defense version of events as early as possible. After that, the prosecution presents its case through witness testimony and the introduction of evidence. Once the prosecution calls a witness to the stand, the prosecutor questions them (“direct examination”) and then the defense attorney gets the opportunity to question the witness (“cross-examination”). The attorneys will often argue to the Court by objecting to the admission of certain items of evidence or to certain questions asked by the opposition.

Once the prosecution has completed presented their case, the defense may or may not put forth an actual “affirmative case” (calling own witnesses or seeking to enter items of evidence). There are a variety of considerations that go into this decision, the most common one being that the defense believes that the prosecution has not put forth a sufficient case and doesn’t want to inadvertently fill in the blanks for the prosecution. However, the defense may not be content to only demonstrate the holes in the prosecution’s case but decide to seek to admit evidence, call witnesses for the defense, and/or have the defendant testify even though the defendant can’t be compelled to take the stand. After the defense rests, both sides make their closing arguments. At the Federal Level, the prosecution goes first, then the defense attorney, and then the prosecutor gets a quick rebuttal at the end. In State Court, the defense attorney gives their closing argument first and the prosecutor gets to go last.

At the end of the closing arguments, the Jury is given legal instructions by the Judge. The Jury goes into a private sessions called deliberations. These can last anywhere from a few hours to a several days. If the jury can reach a verdict, it is either “Guilty” or “Not Guilty” and it must be unanimous. If the jurors cannot come to a unanimous verdict, the Judge has to declare mistrial. After a mistrial, the prosecution has to decide whether or not to retry the case.

For more information on Plea Offers On Criminal Cases In New York, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (631) 259-6060 today.

Factors to Consider Details
Evidence presented at trial Evaluate the strength of the prosecution’s evidence and whether it proves guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Likelihood of conviction Assess the probability of being found guilty if the case goes to trial based on available evidence and legal factors.
Client’s criminal record Consider the client’s prior criminal convictions and how they may impact sentencing if they choose to testify at trial.
Degree of risk a person can accept Determine the client’s comfort level with the potential outcomes, including the risk of a stiffer sentence if found guilty at trial.

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