The vast majority of criminal cases are resolved without going to trial by defendants pleading guilty. Most pleas are a result of negotiations between the prosecutor, the defendant, and/or the defense attorney.
A plea negotiation usually involves a specific sentence recommendation or dismissal of certain charges by the state in exchange for a guilty plea from the defendant on specific charges.
Important Information For Victims
If you are a victim, we will make every attempt to discuss a potential plea agreement with you before the plea is presented to the court. Your opinion is very important to us, so it is important that you advise this office of any changes in your contact information.
Sometimes we may proceed with a plea negotiation even if you do not agree with our reasons. In these circumstances, you have a right to address your concerns directly to the judge. The judge may decide not to accept the negotiated plea and ask the parties to continue negotiations or to proceed with trial.
Purpose of Plea Agreements
Plea agreements can be very helpful to victims because:
They assure a conviction for a crime without putting victims and witnesses through the inconvenience and trauma of going to trial.
They eliminate the risk that the defendant may not be held accountable due to a court finding of not guilty.
They enable the state to prosecute many more cases than we could without them and help prevent huge backlogs of cases.