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Plea hearing and plea bargains: What’s the difference?

| Jan 12, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

In the event that a person is charged for a crime, an attorney will soon inform that individual that he or she will soon face a plea hearing where a plea bargain can be discussed. This is a common legal procedure that is practiced in many states, including Louisiana. But what exactly are these two parts of pleas? The following includes information about the difference between a plea hearing and a plea bargain.

Plea hearings and the process

In the event that you have committed a crime, that you have been arrested, and that the district attorney has filed charges, the next step would be a preliminary hearing. In that stage, you are going to answer to the crimes you have been accused of. It should be noted that according to criminal law, if the charge is a misdemeanor, then a preliminary hearing would not take place.

When does a plea bargain come in?

One of the most common reasons why these two terms tend to be so confusing is that they are likely to occur either at the same time or around the same period. However, they are very different from what actually occurs. A plea bargain involves a conversation between the prosecutor and the defense attorney regarding the current charges and evidence that has been presented during the plea hearing. During a plea bargain, the person charged would be presented with options such as pleading guilty in order to get a lesser sentence.

The final hearing

At the very end of the process is the hearing. At this time, a judge may accept the person’s plea and move to sentence the person depending on the charges placed on them. All of this will take place in front of all participating parties.

The process of a plea hearing can be very complicated, and thus there is very little room for any mistakes. Therefore, it is important to consult your actions with an attorney as a means to improve your chances of protecting your rights.