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Plea Bargains in Florida: Three Things You Need to Know

You may be looking at imprisonment of 15 years or more for a conviction on child abuse charges, but it is possible to receive a lesser sentence depending on the circumstances of your case. As reported by Miami’s ABC Local 10 News, a former public school teacher was able to negotiate a plea deal in the case against him for the crime of child abuse. Instead of the full jail sentence he risked by going through the entire trial process, the man pleaded guilty and received 10 years of probation. It is possible to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors in many cases, but your chances of obtaining the best result greatly improve when you hire a Florida criminal defense attorney. Some general information is also helpful.

How Plea Bargains Work in Fort Lauderdale

A plea bargain is where a prosecuting attorney negotiates and offers you a deal to reduce the legal impact of the crimes charged against you. There are two types of plea bargains in Florida:

  • Charge Bargain: Under this type of arrangement, a prosecutor will give you the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge or remove some lesser charges for a guilty plea on the primary crime.
  • Sentence Bargain: Here, a prosecuting attorney would tell you what your sentence would be if you plead guilty and receive the maximum sentence. Then he or she will offer a deal where you could obtain a penalty for less prison time or a lower fine by pleading guilty to certain other charges.

Three Things to Keep in Mind

If you are able to negotiate a plea bargain with a prosecutor, keep in mind that this is an official agreement that has a serious legal impact. Therefore, before you agree to a plea deal, you should:

  • Understand Your Obligations: Make sure you know what is required of you in order to comply with the agreement. There may be certain stipulations requiring you to meet with a probation officer, obtain proper counseling, complete an educational session, or provide documents to the court on a regular basis. If you have questions or need clarification, do not sign a plea deal.
  • Stick to Your End of the Bargain: Once you understand your obligations, you must dedicate your efforts to meet all of them. Failing to meet your obligations even on a minute detail may have severe consequences, including jail time.
  • Consult with an Attorney: Plea deals can be difficult to comprehend, so it is recommended that you discuss your arrangement with a criminal defense lawyer. When you can not understand your responsibilities, it is almost impossible to meet them. You risk jail time and fines for non-compliance, so play it safe by having an attorney review the terms of the plea bargain.

Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Fort Lauderdale

If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal child abuse, an experienced defense attorney like Kevin J. Kulik can advocate on your behalf and guide you through the criminal justice system. Contact Kevin J. Kulik today for a free and confidential consultation in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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