If you are facing criminal charges you may be wondering, “Will my case settle through a plea bargain or will it go to trial?” It depends.
If your defense attorney feels that he or she has discussed a “good plea deal” with the prosecutor and you refuse to accept, the ultimate decision to accept a plea bargain or proceed with trial rests with you.
Essentially, a defense lawyer cannot force you to plead guilty to lesser charges and they cannot accept a plea bargain on your behalf, without your consent. For example, let’s say you’re being charged with aggravated assault and you insist you were acting in self-defense.
The prosecutor is offering you a deal – you plead guilty to assault (a reduced charge) under Sec. 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code (a Class A misdemeanor), instead of aggravated assault (a felony of the second degree).
However, you refuse to accept the plea deal because you insist that you were defending yourself. You believe that you did what you had to do and had no choice but to fight back.
In this scenario, you have every right to have you defense attorney tell the prosecutor that there’s no deal. Even if your lawyer recommends you take a deal, they cannot accept one without your approval.
If your attorney feels that you should take a deal and you reject it, you can expect your lawyer to send you a letter, which will explain the deal and the fact that you rejected it, despite his or her recommendations that you take the offer.
Should You Accept a Plea Bargain?
As a criminal defendant, it’s your choice whether to offer or accept a plea bargain. Defense attorneys enforce this right by acting on behalf of their clients. If you want to offer a plea bargain, your defense lawyer is ethically required to relay your offer to the prosecutor.
Your defense attorney is also required to inform the prosecutor whether or not you accept the prosecutor’s plea. While you should certainly listen to your defense lawyer’s advice, you are the one who ultimately decides how to proceed.
No matter what, it is your defense attorney’s duty to communicate your wishes to the prosecutor, regardless if they agree with your choices.
Are you facing criminal charges in Plano or Dallas? Contact our firm to for hard-hitting defense representation!