Most residents in West Virginia have likely heard stories about someone who has been charged with a criminal offense and ended up agreeing to a plea deal instead of opting to allow their case to go to trial. This has become quite a common practice in today’s criminal justice system. As explained by Flow Psychology, a plea agreement may reduce some of the unknown risk to a defendant as they will know the outcome versus going to trial, which can feel more like rolling the dice.
Expediency it seems may well be one factor that encourages more prosecutors and even defense counsel today to promote plea deals in criminal cases. According to The Atlantic, there are a few factors that may contribute to the need for this level of expediency. One of these factors is the large number of criminal cases on dockets all around the nation. More and more relatively minor offenses have resulted in criminal charges over the past few decades. Driving a vehicle without a valid license is one example.
If there were fewer people facing charges, then it is possible that the need to move cases through the system rapidly would not feel so strong. Another potential problem that may exacerbate the drive to reach a plea deal is the great number of people sitting in jail only because they cannot afford to pay their required bail. The Prison Policy Initiative records show that seven out of every 10 people incarcerated are simply waiting for their next hearing or trial date.
A plea agreement may well be a good option for some defendants but it is important for people to ask questions about their options before making a final decision.