Do I have a right to a plea agreement?

In Arizona the state (or prosecutor) will almost always offer a plea agreement to allow the defendant to admit guilty to some type of offense and guarantee the punishment in writing.  Unfortunately, there is no right to a plea agreement.  If the prosecutor wants to take the case to trial, then he doesn’t have to offer a plea agreement.

Typically the prosecutor’s office will offer a plea to a lesser offense and/or one that guarantees a lesser punishment than what would be ordered after a trial.  The plea often has a cut-off date.  So that if the defendant doesn’t accept the plea by that date, then it is off the table and the only option is trial. 

Some of the city courts have a policy that the plea offer is revoked if the case is set for trial.  Many defendants go to court without an attorney and accept a plea offer which constitutes admitting guilt to the crime and receiving the exact punishment the court would have imposed if the defendant lost at trial! 

Plea offers should extend some benefit to the defendant for his or her admission of guilt.  An experienced Arizona criminal defense lawyer will be able to negotiate the best possible plea agreement under the given circumstances.

Have another question about plea agreements? Contact criminal defense attorney Jeremy Geigle for a free consultation regarding your question.

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