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Tennessee plea bargain discussions and negotiations

Posted December 9, 2015 - Domestic Violence, Drug Cases, DUI Cases, Felony Cases, Misdemeanor Cases, Prescription Fraud, Prostitution Solicitation, Shoplifting, Vehicle Assault, Vehicle Homicide, White Collar Defense

Nashville criminal defense attorney Lee Martin explains what goes into plea bargain negotiations.  Many potential clients overlook an important skill-set when hiring a lawyer.  A lawyer’s ability to negotiate plea bargains is essential to an effective defense strategy.  Plea bargains are agreements between defendants and prosecutors where defendants agree to a set punishment.  Usually, the prosecutor will make certain concessions in order to seal the deal.  Plea agreements are essential to the criminal justice system because they allow prosecutors to focus their time on other cases and defendants are given an opportunity to control their own destiny.  Plea bargains also reduce the number of trials and allow the justice system to be more efficient.   Without such agreements, the criminal justice system would shut down.  There are simply too many cases for the courts to handle.

Like many lawyers, I take pride in my abilities as a trial lawyer.  However, I will only recommend a trial if that method is the best option for my client.  A good attorney will never put their ego above their client. In many situations, the client needs an attorney who is able to negotiate a favorable plea bargain with the prosecution.  This is the route that most criminal defendants prefer.

Defendants prefer to control their own destiny rather than risk the outcome of a trial.  With this in mind, most clients in the beginning stages try to ascertain what the outcome of their case will be.  They essentially want a prediction or sometimes even a guarantee.  This is only natural.  However, be vary of any attorney who will guarantee a result from the outset.  This is not only unrealistic but it a violation of professional conduct for a Tennessee lawyer.  However, an attorney can perform his own investigation and predict an outcome based upon his own professional experiences.  I always tell my clients that I cannot guarantee a result but I can guarantee effort and experience.  However, I am usually able to give a realistic goal to set for a potential outcome to their case and base plea negotiations on these parameters.  I always set goals before starting the plea bargain process.

Experience is essential in negotiating plea bargains.  I think it is import to address both the merits and weaknesses of a particular case.  I also start from a position of strength and negotiate from there.  There are a number of factors that need to be addressed in plea discussions.  Here are some of the typical points discussed in plea negotiations.

Facts of the case

Witness testimony and their biases or lack of bias

Prior criminal history of the accused or hopefully a lack of criminal history

Good points for the defendant’s theory of defense

Address strong points of the prosecution while weakening their theory and position

Scientific evidence and results

Police procedures and investigation methods

Prior case law

Benefits and downside to the proposed plea bargain

Once a plea agreement is made, an attorney must convey this offer to their client unless the client has previously indicated that a similar proposal will be acceptable or unacceptable.  For this reason, I always discuss the expectations and final outcome with my clients prior to going to court.  I believe in having a defined goal and negotiating from that position.  I hope this information helps.

-Lee Martin is a nationally recognized DUI and criminal defense attorney.  He provides premier legal services by limiting his caseload exclusively to DUI and criminal matters.  Lee knows how to build a solid defense strategy for your upcoming court date.  Let Lee Martin be your choose as your Nashville area criminal defense lawyer.   If you have pending charges, give him a call at 615-345-1988.

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