Plea Negotiations in Criminal Cases

In today’s modern legal world an increasingly small number of cases filed have been reaching trial, whether bench or jury.   While the reasons for this shift are numerous and subject to much debate, the take away is that securing counsel who is not only competent at litigation but also at plea negotiations in criminal cases is more crucial than ever.

There are typically a few main ways negotiations occur – charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and grading bargaining. While these are the main negotiating points which are not exhaustive, each of these three may impact the other, and usually do.

Charge bargaining – when someone is charged in a criminal case it is not uncommon that they will be charged with numerous criminal offenses. When that occurs negotiations sometimes revolve around limiting the number of charges somebody will plead guilty to in any given case in exchange for the withdrawal of the remaining offenses.

Sentence bargaining – where you determine through negotiations what a proper/acceptable sentence would be in a given in a specific instance. While not exhaustive, many times it focuses on the exchange of longer supervision for less incarceration or whether there will be a straight probationary sentence or a sentence involving incarceration. In more serious cases it may be about whether or not someone should be sentenced to state versus county prison.

Grading bargaining – many offenses in Pennsylvania, be it Theft or Assault, have different levels of grading. Some are summary offenses some are misdemeanor offenses and some felony level offenses. A lot of negotiations revolve around whether or not a higher grading can be negotiated down to a lower level offense.

As you can tell, the give-and-take in these three main categories of negotiations often impact the other and how they will be managed in a given situation. In the end, negotiations may breakdown and an agreement not reached – therefore, it is always important to know you have an attorney who is not only a skilled negotiator but a skilled litigator to protect your right to trial in the event that you do end up there.

The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  It is intended solely for informational purposes.

Michael D. DiCindio, Esq. is a West Chester criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale.

Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC

29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535