View Full Version : Sentencing: Trial vs. Plea Bargain

03-25-2006, 07:10 PM
With a plea bargain, you know what you've been offered. But if there's a trial, is the sentence likely to be the same? Or less? Or more harsh? Does the judge even know what was offered in the plea bargain?

03-25-2006, 09:05 PM
Yes the judge know about the plea bargain but 99% of the time its usually better to take a plea bargain and get it over with and go on cause there is a good chance he/she could get more time with the trial.good luck

03-26-2006, 12:21 AM
not sure about your case but my ex had crimminal domestic violence with a gun and they offered him 2 years probation and he turned it down for a jury trial. he was found guilty of course and he got 3 years. just tossing an example of the system your way. good luck as I have followed some of your post and really hope all works out well for you.

03-26-2006, 07:09 AM
It is better to take the plea bargain most of the time. You will find that most cases end with a plea bargain vs. going to trial because the sentence is usually much less. When you go to trial sometimes you get the maximum time. I've heard that the Feds hate when you waste their time and money. I have seen a case where someone was facing up to 15 years if taken to trial but was offered a plea of 5 years and supervised release. It depends on your case though. Also keep in mind that the feds win about 98% of their cases.

03-27-2006, 12:10 AM
once you yurn down the offer an go to trial they take the offer off the table. not even a option.

03-27-2006, 11:27 AM
once you yurn down the offer an go to trial they take the offer off the table. not even a option.

That's not always true. I have offered plea bargains and they have been refused. We went to trial and half way through the trial the defendant wanted to take the plea bargain. It's not uncommon for that to happen. Most prosecutors do not take the plea bargain off the table--they put in on the back burner just in case. A good prosecutor will do that.

03-27-2006, 11:30 AM
Here's an extreme one for y'all: Offer was go home today and serve a year on supervisied release. Sentence after trial, ten years.

03-27-2006, 04:49 PM
With a plea bargain, you know what you've been offered. But if there's a trial, is the sentence likely to be the same? Or less? Or more harsh? Does the judge even know what was offered in the plea bargain?
Defense attorneys say that the real definition of a "win" is going to trial and not doing worse than the plea bargain at the time of sentencing.
The primary reasons to take a deal and avoid trial is if the deal will result in less punishment, less serious charges, reduce the possibility of cataclysmic sentences, or perhaps avoid uncertainty and stress of trial).
Some judges are notoriously vindictive at sentencing. After a guilty verdict, I've seen j a judge set a high bail and request a sentence report due in a month. The defendant stays in custody all that time, and the court then sentences to 10 days (but credit for time served since the defendant was in that long). Very cold; but it happens. Other judges like to make post trial defendants serve actual jail time instead of being able to apply for alternative sentencing. You have to know the Judges' habits when making deal v. trial decisions. Similarly, some DAs are nothing but reasonable, since the offer was made based on what tehy really thought the case was worth. Other DAs will increase the offer once they have to work a case up for trial. You have to know the DAs when deciding whether to negotiate or go to trial.
Some cases have a shot at winning; others don't. Judges and DAs are more likely to want to hurt a defendant at sentencing if they fell like they are being messed with. You have to know your local juries and and strength of the evidence before you decide to go to trial.
...all of which is a round about way to say that it just depends.

03-28-2006, 08:54 AM
My fiance was given a deal of 15 years, his public defender said not to take it and go to trial...He is now serving a life sentence.

03-28-2006, 10:59 AM
Another extreme example-Offered plea of 4 to 12. He didn't commit the crimes so he went to trial. Found guilty and sentenced to 19 to 50! Also, the parole board hit him at his first board (even though the guideline range was 30-60 months and he's served 230) and they asked him why he went to trial, why he put his "victims" through that, did they cry when they testified etc. If you are guilty and they have a good case against you, I wouldn't go to trial. Even when you're not guilty, I'd think long and hard about going to trial. You pay dearly for trying to prove your innocent.

03-28-2006, 11:04 AM
A plea bargain is basically a gift. We do not have to offer a plea. I have a case now where I have not offered a plea yet. The defendant's lawyer has approached me, but I am not in the business of giving pleas out when the evidence is overwhelming and the defendant is a three strike candidate. A prosecutor has to know when to offer one and when not to.
Some people can take it to trial and win, but 85% of the people who refuse pleas always end up with more time than had they accepted a plea. A plea should always be considered and any attorney who tells him client to refuse a plea needs his or head examined.

03-28-2006, 11:10 AM
With a plea bargain, you know what you've been offered. But if there's a trial, is the sentence likely to be the same? Or less? Or more harsh? Does the judge even know what was offered in the plea bargain?

From years of experience in this you take any trial to the box and you can bet your going to get the max, if convicted and in this country no matter what it says you are guilty till proven innocent, i had a friend years back that took one to trial when offered 5 yrs, he was convicted after taking it to trial as he turned that down and got 27 yrs

04-03-2006, 08:35 PM
Here in Texas and most likely everywhere else, take the plea bargain. Our society is ate up with placing innocent people in prison. Judges, prosecutors, district attorneys take bets on plea bargain vs trial. I read somewhere & forgive me for not knowing about the details but when you turn down a plea bargain it is sort of like a slap in the face to the judge. The judge is quite aware of the offer and the fact that you put him/her through a trial, with the fees and time associated, the % is quite high that the defendant will indeed receive close to the maximum allowed under law. It sucks but the analysis is accurate. We are all guilty until proven innocent & yet we have been taught to be honest and what do we get for being truthful? So it boils down the plea bargain worth accepting EVEN though your not guilty or would you rather take the chance of getting some outlandish idiotic sentence that will prove nothing other than the judicial system has us all hanging.....I say scratch the Senate, House of Representatives and let PrisonTalk people run for candidacy and see the truth be revealed.

04-12-2006, 10:02 AM
Take the plea bargain! Even though the judge does not "exactly" have to follow the sentencing offered (as I can tell you from experience with a $5,000 fine that nobody mentioned but the judge) - he did give my hubby the agreed upon sentence as far as jail and probation time.

04-12-2006, 10:35 AM
my guy took the plea bargain - 1 year max jail time serving it in the work house and at sentencing got 4 years. needless to say he is beyond himself dealing with it or not dealing with it as the case may be. he is hell bent on appealing and every lawyer i have talked to has said that he would be better off just accepting things and finding a way to deal with it. they have all told me that if he won the appeal and went back into court he would end up with at least what he got and the chances of his getting more were greater than the chance of the same. and yes, the reasoning was that the DA and the judge would both feel the need to vindicate themselves. my problem is that i can't find a way to explain this to him - he just wants out. i feel in my gut that he would get more. the judge as much as said to him that he was going to "send a message" to everyone with this case. four years doesn't make me happy and i know it can't make him happy but more? gotta find a way to get through to him.

04-13-2006, 10:14 PM
Pleas offered for robbery in Florida: 9 years, 12 years.

They had little evidence and an eye witness who kept changing her story.

He went to trial and got a 40 year sentence. (the max)

04-14-2006, 02:19 AM
You have to understand if you're case is federal TAKE THE PLEA! If it's state then it's a different story. Some judges in columbus ohio will forget the plea and give you the max like this judge we have named dale crawford. He is evil, he gave a kid i was locked up with (county jail, drunk driving while back) 15 years when the deal was 5.5. Also Of all the 50 states in the country the conviction rate for DA's is around 66%, pretty good but not as yall think it is. If the evidence is waaay too much then take the deal. There is an exception though, let's say you have a little cake and you get a great lawyer. If your lawyer has a track record for going to trials and winning, then chances are they will give you little or no prison time (small crimes such as drugs etc) just to not humiliate themselves. Most of time prosecutors give out deals just cuz without plea bargains the system would collapse (gauranteed). It would mean every Assistant DA would have cases waaaaaaay over the statute of limitation and it would eventually get dismissed thus murderers drug dealers and whatever other criminal would be doing the same crime again. hope i was helpful

04-30-2006, 09:58 PM
And also......there are those DA's who have an unsolved case and hang it on someone else. Yes it happens.

My son was on the internet looking at teen age girls (porn). 4 counts of "child porn" since he downloaded the pics. Didn't matter that they were teens they were under 18 and it is against the law, as it should be.

The police dectective that arrested him called me about 5 months after the arrest (he was still in county jail) and wanted to know if I knew a child by the name of _________. I said no. She asked my son and he said no.

We couldn't get them to take him to trial for the porn for some reason, they kept saying they were looking for more evidence. Of what we didn't know.

Finally, he go before the judge and his lawyer told him in no uncertain terms regardless of innocence he had to plead guilty to molesting a 4 yr old so they could close the case otherwise if they took him to trial the judge would make sure he got 20 yrs. So my son plead guilty to something he didn't do in order to only get 5 yrs and serve 50% of that.

Wouldn't one think if they had evidence of molestation that they would have thrown the book at him?

He thinks they had a case they couldn't solve and his crime was also concerning sex so they chose him so they could close it.

Also, on his inmate information sheet at the prison there is no mention of any charges other than the 4 charges of possession of child porn.

05-03-2006, 07:51 AM
How does the Alford Plea play a part in any of this? :confused:

05-03-2006, 09:57 AM
I know in NY the plea is offered if you decide to go to trial, they forget the plea and what is offered and if they find you guilty you will get close to the max. My husband took his plea of 7 flat.

05-05-2006, 01:49 PM
I know in NY the plea is offered if you decide to go to trial, they forget the plea and what is offered and if they find you guilty you will get close to the max. My husband took his plea of 7 flat.

That is not true in every case. District Attorney's will keep pleas' tucked away. I will always keep pleas' on the backburner if someone decides to take it to trial. More often than not if they see that they are blowing trial, their attorney will approach me and I wll offer one of the pleas I had originally offered with a year or two added on. They usually take it.
It is true that if you are found guilty, you usually get close to the max, but a plea is never forgotten. Maybe in your husband's case it was, but in 95% of NY cases, pleas' are always there. That is unless a defendant or his attorney pisses the DA off. I've seen that happen.