Plea Bargaining.


Only a small percentage of criminal cases ever actually go to trial.   The majority of criminal cases are settled with a plea bargain.

There are many factors that will be looked at by the prosecutor in deciding whether to offer a plea bargain; such as the seriousness of the case, your background, and even the wishes of the victims.   Also, there are some offenses, such as certain DWI charges or gun possession charges, which cannot be plea bargained.

All in all, plea bargains are an integral part of the criminal justice system. In Bronx County, hundreds of thousands of criminal cases are adjudicated every year. The plea bargain system is a way to get rid of or reduce the amount of cases in the system.

Misdemeanors

With misdemeanors, a plea bargain will represent a type of compromise. Often you will want to avoid a permanent criminal record, while a prosecutor will want to get some result from the criminal charge.   If possible, you want to plea bargain to a reduced charge that does not give you a criminal record and imposes just community service and/or a fine.   This type of plea deal will usually be in your best interest because in New York once you have a criminal record; it is an open public record forever.

Felonies

If you have been charged with one or more felonies, plea bargain negotiations will often revolve around reducing the charge to a misdemeanor charge to avoid being a convicted felon.   In this case, it is the felony conviction and all the consequences that come with being a convicted felon that is being avoided by agreeing to a conviction for a misdemeanor crime.   With some major felonies, lesser felonies are offered as a plea bargain to reduce or eliminate the amount of prison time a defendant will have to serve.