Taking a plea deal may seem like the best course of action when you are facing a criminal charge, but sometimes there is more than meets the eye. No defendant should accept a plea bargain without investigating all of the pros and cons associated with the deal. Your lifestyle and future depend on the terms of your agreement, and pleading guilty or no contest to an offense could relinquish your right to change your mind or retry your case in the future.
5 Things to Consider Before Agreeing to a Plea Bargain in Florida
Before agreeing to a plea deal in Florida, consider the following:
Does Your Plea Deal Include Jail or Prison Time?
If the plea deal you have been offered includes any sort of jail or prison time, really think about what exactly that will mean for you. While you are behind bars, not only will you need to rely on someone to pay your bills, care for your children, and keep an eye on your belongings, but you could also lose your job and put your personal relationships in jeopardy.
You May Not Have the Opportunity to Appeal
Plea bargains often include a waiver of appeal, which would renounce your right to contest your plea or case in court in the future. If your plea deal includes a waiver to appeal, make sure you discuss what this could mean for your specific case with your attorney. Your criminal defense lawyer should be able to help you weigh your options and determine if accepting the plea is worth the risk of not being able to appeal later on.
Consequences You Could Face for a Conviction
Pleading guilty to a felony, even if you do not spend any time in jail or prison, can hinder your opportunities in the future. As a convicted felon, you may lose your professional license, your right to vote, or your ability to own a firearm. Future employers and landlords could also see you as too high of a risk and choose not to hire you or grant you housing.
Understand What Rights You Are Waiving
After accepting a plea bargain, the judge will ask for you to verify that you understand your rights and that you are voluntarily waiving them. Therefore, before you get to court, make sure your attorney has thoroughly explained what rights you are waiving and have them answer any questions you may have about what that means for you.
Clarify Any Potential Immigration Consequences
Plea deals can be purposely written to keep immigrants from being barred from re-entering the United States. Particularly when it comes to drug-related crimes, make sure you work closely with your lawyer to ensure your plea does not impede your future plans of becoming a U.S. citizen.
Weigh the Options of a Florida Plea Deal with a Skilled Criminal Defense Attorney
In Florida, most criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains. If you are trying to decide whether or not to enter into a plea bargain, make sure you discuss with your attorney how your specific plea deal could affect your life before you land on a decision.
Criminal Defense Attorney Brian P. Gabriel has over 30 years of experience reviewing Florida plea bargains, and he understands precisely how the conditions of a plea deal can affect the lives of his clients. When you choose Mr. Gabriel to defend you, he will handle your case using all the knowledge and skill developed over the span of his career. Start with a free consultation today by calling Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Gabriel of The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel at (561) 622-5575. You can also complete an online contact form to learn more.