You have a constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial. Still, not all criminal cases go through the entire trial process. Many cases are resolved through plea deals, with the defendant never facing a jury at all.
But when it comes to any criminal case, preparation for trial is key. This is true even if a plea deal is ultimately accepted.
What is a plea deal?
Oftentimes, defendants choose to take a plea deal, rather than go through with the full trial process. A plea deal basically means that the defendant agrees to plead guilty usually in exchange for a lesser sentence and/or lower charges.
Plea deals are negotiated between the prosecutor and defense attorney, and if they can reach an agreement, a plea date will be set. On the plea date, the judge assigned to the case will advise the defendant of their right to a trial and their other constitutional rights, so the defendant can make an informed decision on whether to take the plea deal.
If the defendant agrees to the plea deal, they will admit to the charges against them along with the facts surrounding the charges. The judge, at this point, will decide whether to accept the plea deal.
So why prepare for trial?
So, if a criminal case ends in a plea deal, why even prepare for trial? Well, this is because plea deals are not a given, and even if they are negotiated it is advantageous for the defense attorney to enter plea negotiations with the strongest position possible.
It is not a given that the prosecuting attorney will even offer a plea deal. Negotiations for an acceptable plea deal might fail. Or the judge may reject the plea deal.
In any of these situations, the case will go to trial. You do not want to wait until then to begin preparing a strong defense. Preparing for trial early on is prudent.
And, if you prepare for trial from the get-go, it puts you in a strong position to negotiate an