In a nutshell, a plea bargain is a type of negotiation between a person who has been charged with a crime (usually represented by a lawyer) and a Crown prosecutor. Plea bargain agreements can take several forms.
In some cases, where the accused person has been charged with several criminal offences, the accused may agree to plead guilty to one or more of those offences, while at the same time, the Crown agrees to drop the remaining charges. In other cases, the accused may plead guilty, and in exchange, the Crown prosecutor agrees to recommend a sentence that is less than what the accused would have likely received, had the court ultimately made the decision. Plea deals often take several rounds of negotiations between the defence lawyer and the Crown prosecutor.
If you have been charged with a crime, the Calgary criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence may be able to represent you throughout your case. Our lawyers have the legal knowledge and skills to negotiate with prosecutors, in hopes of achieving a favourable plea deal on your behalf.
Timing of Plea Deals and Benefits to Both Sides
In most criminal cases, plea bargaining takes place before the trial. If both sides reach an agreement, the witnesses (who are necessary in order for the prosecutor to meet his or her burden of proof) need not show up in court. In other cases, plea deals may take place at the time of trial, such as when unexpected evidence arises at trial that significantly impacts the defence’s ability to secure an acquittal or the Crown’s ability to secure a conviction. In that case, both sides may be able to negotiate a plea deal while the trial is still going on. From the prosecutor’s perspective, a plea deal can be beneficial because:
It saves time, money, and court resources – not to mention the time of potential witnesses who would need to be present to testify in court.
It saves victims the trauma of having to attend court and testify at trial.
Obviously, from the defence perspective, a plea deal can potentially lessen the severity of the charge and the potential penalties associated with the charge. Since the Criminal Code of Canada gives judges wide discretion to impose sentences in a criminal case, the risks are sometimes too great to take a case to trial. Plea bargains, therefore, provide some certainty and ensure that the desired objective is achieved on both sides.
Contact a Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer Today for a Free Legal Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you have been charged with a crime, the penalties can be high and time may be of the essence. The knowledgeable lawyers at Bourdon Defence can discuss all of the facts and circumstances of your case with you and may be able to help you formulate a favourable legal defence. Our lawyers can advocate for you during plea negotiations and at every other stage of your criminal case. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please call us today or contact us online.