Law Offices of Christie A. Leary P.C.
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If one is facing Virginia drug charges, attorneys may recommend a plea agreement. In fact, a large number of drug convictions stem from a negotiated plea agreement. Before accepting a plea deal, it is important to understand it.

Generally, there are three areas of negotiation for a plea deal. The first area is the most common and relates to bargaining for lesser charges. This means one pleads guilty to a lesser criminal charge, but the prosecutor will agree to drop one or more of the more serious charges. For example, pleading guilty to the lesser charge of drug possession, but the more serious charge of trafficking may be dropped.

The second area relates to sentencing. With a bargained sentence, one pleads guilty to the original, more serious charge, but receives a lesser sentence.

The final area of plea negotiation relates to the facts of the case. This type of negotiation requires one to admit to certain facts and/or plead guilty. In exchange, prosecutors agree to omit certain facts to lessen punishments. For example, pleading guilty to possession of heroin. The prosecutor may say one possessed lesser than 1 kilogram, thereby reducing the minimum mandatory sentence.

Accepting a plea deal may be the best way to avoid serious charges and penalties. If one does not accept the plea deal, they may be found guilty at trial on the more serious charges and face a more serious sentence.

Deciding whether to accept a plea deal may be one of the most difficult decisions in one's life. And, it can be helpful to discuss the case with a criminal defense attorney.

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