How judges influence plea deals

On Behalf of | Aug 4, 2023 | Blog, Civil Litigation

If you are charged with a crime in California, it doesn’t mean that you will be convicted. It’s possible that you will be acquitted of the charge or that it will be dropped at some point before a verdict is reached. There is also a possibility that the prosecutor in your case will work with you to negotiate a plea deal.

Deals must be approved by the judge

A plea agreement must receive the judge’s approval prior to going into effect. Typically, the judge will defer to the prosecutor’s discretion and agree to whatever arrangement is delivered at sentencing.

However, if the deal seems too lenient, it may be altered or rejected outright. In such a scenario, state or federal sentencing guidelines will be used. It’s also possible that a defendant will opt to go to trial as part of a criminal defense strategy aimed at obtaining an acquittal or better plea deal.

The judge may take a hands-on role

Depending on the circumstances of a given case, the judge may play a role in determining the structure of a sentence. This may be true if that judge has an interest in the defendant or wants to actively serve the public good. Plea deals are also a tool commonly used to help resolve cases in a timely manner in an effort to free up time for matters the court determines to be a higher priority. It’s not uncommon for a judge and a prosecutor to work together to come to a compromise that serves the interests of a defendant and the community as a whole.

If you are charged with a crime, there are several strategies that you might use to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. Those strategies may include seeking to have evidence suppressed or casting doubt on the legitimacy of evidence that is introduced in court.

FindLaw Network
Gary Jay Kaufman
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