In every criminal case in South Carolina, there comes a time when you as the defendant have to make various decisions. One of those decisions may be whether to go to trial or take a plea bargain, which is a deal the prosecution offers you in return for a guilty plea. These deals usually offer the promise of a reduced penalty and also typically either reduce or remove charges against you.
Forbes explains that plea bargains are often very attractive because they generally come with a comparison of what could happen if you decide to go to trial. This is driving an epidemic of innocent people pleading guilty to get a deal. You may wonder why you would ever plead guilty to a crime you did not commit, but looking deeper at the issue, it not very hard to see why.
Fear of incarceration
Often, the reason why people accept a plea bargain and agree to plead guilty even if they did not commit the crime is that they are afraid of what could happen if they went to trial. They may feel the risk of a trial is too great and the chances of getting a longer sentence than what the prosecutor offers are too big. These fears may push them to admit guilt and take the deal to avoid lengthy prison sentences.
A sense of control
Taking a plea bargain gives you some control over the situation. It is becoming very common for people to take a deal and avoid trial because they want to manage what happens. Being arrested and going to court are events where you do not have a lot of say in what happens, so taking over and making decisions for yourself puts you in a position of power and can make you feel more secure.
It can be difficult to know what the right decision is when faced with a plea bargain. The best-case scenario is having a qualified advisor who can help you make the best decision for your situation.