America is the world’s leader in mass incarceration, with a whopping 2,217,000 Americans behind bars. Strangely enough, only 90% of these criminal cases ever even make it in front of a judge or jury; this phenomenon is due in large part to the prevalence of plea bargains.
What are Plea Bargains?
Plea bargains are agreements made between defendants and prosecutors, wherein defendants agree to plead guilty in exchange for concessions from the prosecutors. Oftentimes these concessions amount to a reduced sentence relative to the mandatory sentencing the defendant would receive if he were found guilty in front of a grand jury.
Proponents argue that this method for resolving criminal cases is pragmatic; given the sheer cost of criminal trials, the justice system simply doesn’t have enough money to support the financial weight of every person’s right to trial, let alone enough lawyers, judges, or prisons to deal with the litigation. Since plea bargains are inherently made to save time and money, problems arise when defendants may be pressured to admit guilt whether they are guilty or not.
The anxiety that prosecutors impose on defendants in the form of mandatory sentencing laws make defendants’ right to a trial less about innocence and guilt, and more about whether they are willing to risk the fallout from a guilty verdict. This anxiety compels defendants to forgot their constitutional rights and admit to guilt, often without understanding the harsh civil restrictions that accompany a criminal record.
In New Jersey, being classified as a felon can hurt you when applying for a job and looking for housing. You can lose your right to vote, carry firearms, and obtain certain professional licenses.
Don’t let yourself be victimized by the criminal justice system. The experienced criminal defense attorneys from Rosenberg | Perry & Associates can help you determine whether you have any grounds for dismissal, explore plea options, or represent you at trial. The team at Rosenberg | Perry & Associates includes two former Burlington County prosecutors who have tried dozens of trials to verdict. We will vigorously work to assert your rights and assure the best possible outcome in court or at the negotiating table.