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Are Plea Deals Worth it in California Drug Cases?


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drug seized standing on a desk during plea deal on drug case

If you are facing drug charges in Ventura County, you could get a sentence that might include jail time, fines, probation, and more if convicted. When you are charged with a drug crime, you need to consider your options and whether you should consider a plea deal. A plea deal, or plea bargain, is an agreement between a defendant and prosecutor to reduce charges in a case in exchange for a guilty plea. Many cases in California result in plea deals, although not every defendant has a plea deal offer. If you do not have a plea deal offer, your case will go to trial if you plead not-guilty.

Pros and Cons of Plea Deals

Drug charges may range greatly depending on the severity of the crime. It may be in your best interest to take a plea deal in your case. There are both advantages and disadvantages to taking or leaving a plea deal for a drug case in Ventura County. 

Plea Deal Pros

Plea deals can be a good option, particularly when you are facing serious charges. With a plea deal, you may be able to reduce the charges and plead guilty to a lesser offense. You will likely face lower penalties and may even be able to get a sentence that does not include incarceration. A plea bargain may allow for alternative sentencing in drug cases. A plea deal will resolve the case much more quickly than a trial, which can take some time. If you are in jail awaiting your fate, a plea deal can end the situation sooner rather than later. 

Plea Deal Cons

A plea deal means that you will plead guilty to at least one charge. That means you will have a criminal record. If the evidence against you is weak or if there is a chance that some of the evidence will be excluded from the case, you have a better chance of exoneration. When you accept a plea deal you do not have the chance to prove your innocence in court and you must abide by the sentence that you receive. If you are innocent and can prove it at trial, you may be acquitted of the charges and will not have a criminal record. 

Factors to Consider When Deciding to Accept a Plea Deal

Plea deals are not always a possibility in every drug crime case. Plea deals most often occur when your attorney negotiates with the prosecutor of the case. The prosecutor must agree to reduce the charges in exchange for a guilty plea. Therefore, if you accept a plea deal you will plead guilty to the lesser charges and accept the sentence imposed based on those charges. 

While your attorney can help you obtain a plea deal and can give you some guidance, the ultimate decision to accept a plea deal is up to you. It is important to consider the specific details of your case when you make your decision. Some of the factors that might influence your decision are the severity of the crime, the possible penalties, whether you have prior criminal convictions, and others. Keep in mind that you will face punishment and criminal record if you agree to plead guilty to lesser criminal charges.

Alternative sentencing is an important consideration when you think about a potential plea deal. Proposition 36 and PC1000 drug diversion programs allow some non-violent first or second time offenders to get a sentence of probation if they complete a drug treatment program. You would not get any jail time under this option. After successful completion of a drug program, a drug charge conviction is erased from your record and you are not a convicted drug offender. A knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will work to try to obtain alternative sentencing when possible. 

You do not have to face drug charges alone. Our lawyers are here to assist you every step of the way to protect your rights and get the best possible results. Contact our team at Strongest Defense at (805) 477-0070 for a case consultation.