Plea negotiations often times can be used to help minimize a defendant’s exposure in the case. If you know you’re not 100% innocent of a crime and are facing a severely lengthy sentence should you proceed to trial, a plea may help to qualify you for a lower base guideline range. If you’re not sure whether plea negotiations or trial are the way to go, NLPA is happy to work with counsel to review those options as well as what you’re up against to determine which avenue may be most appropriate in your case.
Our experienced research staff assist with critically reviewing and pursuing the most favorable options for plea negotiations including:
- Charge bargain: We are experienced at advising on charge bargain options to avoid more serious offenses and possibly weighty mandatory punishments. Charge bargains are available to allow a defendant plead guilty to a charge for a lesser offense instead of a more serious offense that may be charged. This is one of the more common types of plea bargains, and our consultants have assisted hundreds of defendants and their counsel on negotiations of this nature. We can provide advice on the range of lesser offenses that might be charged and that will also be acceptable to the prosecution. Our ultimate aim will be to help you structure a deal that results in a more favorable outcome for you and that passes the scrutiny of the trial judge.
- Count bargain: We provide advice on negotiations to expunge certain counts on a charge in exchange for a guilty plea to one or more lesser offenses charged. Count bargains will often be available where a defendant is charged with a range of offenses. Our services here include a comprehensive review of the offenses charged, with a focus on their likely sentence ranges and other likely consequences attached. Our goal will be to advise on and help you pursue those options that allow you proceed with your life as quickly as possible after conviction and sentencing.
- Sentence bargain: Plea negotiations relating to sentence bargains can often be tricky as courts do not always look favorably on these arrangements. However, we understand how these negotiations work and in what circumstances the court will be more willing to entertain such bargains. We are able to advise on what circumstances are most favorable for sentence bargains and how such a deal may be structured. Sentence bargains involve a plea of guilty to a charge in exchange for the prosecutor’s undertaking that they will recommend a lower sentence range. These bargains may not always work according to plan though, since sentencing is ultimately within the discretion of the court. Our researchers understand this possibility and will review the available downward departures and mitigating factors that justify a lesser sentence in your case.
- Fact bargain: We provide an experienced group of consultants who are well experienced in reviewing and advising on fact bargain negotiations. While fact bargains are not common in plea negotiations, our consultants understand how these arrangements work and can help you make the best deal possible. Fact bargains operate in circumstances where it is to the advantage of the defendant for certain facts to be suppressed during trial. Some of these circumstances include where proof of certain facts will lead to the imposition of a mandatory sentence, upon conviction or where those facts may be irretrievably damaging to the defendant. We understand the risks facing the defendant in these circumstances and will provide the necessary assistance to help your attorney negotiate a deal that works for you.
There is a common misconception that when entering a plea you will receive that sentence and there is nothing else that can be done. However, keep in mind that there are still many other factors that play a role what the court will ultimately impose as the sentence. For federal and many state defendants the government will prepare a Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSI) or Sentencing Computation Report that will outline additional factors that may enhance the guideline range listed in a defendant’s plea agreement. If left unchallenged and should no other mitigating factors be raised, this could open the doors to an even lengthier sentence than a defendant originally bargained for.
In addition to assisting counsel in plea negotiations of a case, NLPA also can provide assistance in preparing for the subsequent sentencing hearing as well as preparing objections to the Pre-sentence Investigation Report (PSI) that will be prepared by the Probation Office prior to sentencing. Our researchers will review the hundreds of downward departures, mitigating factors and alternative sentencing programs that can also be used by the court to impose a sentence below what the prosecutor is requesting.
NLPA is a BBB Accredited Business committed to providing excellent service. You can rest easy when you have NLPA on your team in knowing that you have an experienced group of attorneys and professionals working for your best interest.