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Know the consequences before signing a plea agreement

If you have been charged with a crime, you will have to make many important decisions regarding your defense. Perhaps the most basic question you need to answer is, "Should I take my case to trial or have the matter settled with a plea bargain?"

There are a number of factors that could contribute to your decision. While it is possible that you could be exonerated by going to court, you also risk being issued very serious penalties. On the other hand, with a plea bargain, you can get your case settled much faster and have some measure of say regarding the penalties you will be assessed.

But before you accept a plea bargain, there are few things to consider. For example, to be granted a plea bargain you may have to accept a waiver of appeal. This means that you can never contest your case or your plea in a courtroom. Make sure you fully understand the implications of any waiver you are considering signing.

A jail sentence can profoundly affect your life in many ways, so carefully consider the consequences prior to accepting any type of incarceration. Remember, a conviction will stay on your record and can negatively impact your future prospects. Moreover, life goes on while you are in jail and you will need to find a way to cover your obligations, such as caring for your children or paying your bills, while you serve your sentence.

When used properly, the plea bargaining process can offer a defendant his or her best possible outcome. But in some circumstances, accepting a plea bargain could be a mistake. Before making such an important decision, it is a very good idea to have a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney give you a detailed explanation of your legal options and their potential consequences.

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