What Is a Plea Agreement?
Legal shows on television often dramatize criminal defense cases in the courtroom.
However, it may be in a defendant’s best interest to avoid a trial entirely.
This is important to consider when charges cannot be dismissed or the defendant’s guilt is clear based on the evidence.
A plea agreement is the legal term for resolving criminal charges without a trial in the courtroom.
Here are a few key things to know about Arizona plea agreements.
How Plea Agreements Work
Your defense lawyer and the prosecution will agree on the terms of the guilty plea to be entered.
Entering a guilty plea that requires a judge’s approval can result in a more lenient sentence.
The Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure give defendants and their defense lawyer the ability to negotiate any term in a plea agreement, as long as the plea agreement is:
- Complies with Arizona legal standards
Defendants must voluntarily enter into the agreement, at which point the judge must either approve or reject the deal.
Benefits of Plea Agreements
Plea agreements come with a wide range of advantages for defendants, which can include:
- The reduction of a felony charge to a misdemeanor
- The dismissal of some charges against the defendant
- The avoidance of maximum sentencing terms
- A faster, more affordable path to resolving the charges
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