Please See Below for a Transcript of the Video
Hi, I’m Richard Waring, and I’m a criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, Possession with Intent to Distribute, Possession of Cocaine or some other kind of drug, domestic violence, assault, or some other crime, you’ve probably wondered whether the government is going to offer you a deal. Even further, you’ve probably asked yourself at some point, what is a good plea offer, plea deal, or plea bargain? All of those terms mean the same thing and that is that despite the government charging you with one crime, the government has either decided to offer you a guilty plea to one that has a less severe punishment, or they’ve decided to offer you a resolution that has a major benefit for you.
The government doesn’t have to make a plea offer on any case. It’s important to keep that fact in mind. If they have a lot of evidence against you and/or you have a criminal history, they may decide to not offer you any deals at all. However, a skilled criminal defense attorney knows how to evaluate cases properly and knows how to poke holes in the government’s case. So, even though at first glance the case against you might appear to be very strong for the government, often times defense attorneys will uncover important evidence that undermines the government’s case or otherwise discredits the witnesses or evidence that help prove the government’s case. Only an attorney can advise you on the specifics of your own case.
But, thinking in general terms, and this list is not exhaustive, a good plea offer or plea deal is probably one of the following: (1) the best form of a deal is one in which the government simply dismisses the case. This doesn’t typically happen unless the case is really lousy evidence-wise, or if a defendant agrees to and completes a diversionary program. And I’ll get to those in a minute. Sometimes if a defendant is charged with multiple crimes, the government will offer to dismiss one or more charges if the defendant pleads guilty to other charges. Again, this is where it’s important to have a skilled criminal defense attorney. Once a case is dismissed, you can then look to get the case expunged, or erased from your record.
(2) A deal that doesn’t send you to prison could be considered a good deal if the crime you’re charged with is serious and carries significant prison time. A common deal that allows a defendant to avoid prison time is when the government offers a deal for probation. The government is agreeing to hold a term of prison over your head while you complete your probation to ensure that you don’t misbehave and reoffend. There’s another type of probation called YOA probation or Youthful Offender Act probation. Only defendants who typically haven’t reached their 25th birthday are eligible for YOA probation, and if the government offers you this and you accept, you would plead guilty to whatever the charge is and you would receive YOA probation, but if you complete the program, you can get the case expunged from your record after a certain period of years. So, when looking at hard time or walking out of the courthouse on probation, that could be considered a good deal.
(3) Another scenario that could be considered a good result is when the government offers you time served. And that just means that whatever jail time you’ve already served serves as your punishment and you walk out of the courthouse with no probation on your back and no prison time. (4) I referenced diversionary programs earlier, and these programs are diversionary in that they are outside the typical trajectory of how criminal cases get resolved. In South Carolina, one diversionary program that may be available on your criminal case is PTI (Pre-trial Intervention). With PTI, you have to take some classes, get drug tested, and otherwise jump through some hoops for a period of time, sometimes a year or more. And if you successfully complete PTI, your case gets dismissed. Other programs that may be available in your hometown in South Carolina are Drug Court, Mental Health Court, Veterans Court, and Conditional Discharge, to name a few.
The important thing to keep in mind is that every case is different and a criminal defense attorney can help you determine whether a deal really is good or not based on the circumstances of your own case. And, if you’re in the Charleston, SC area or Lowcountry area and want to discuss the particulars of your own DUI, robbery case, burglary, disorderly conduct, reckless driving, or any other kind of case, feel free to give me a call, and we can discuss your options and determine whether you’re getting a good deal or not. With almost a decade of experience as a criminal prosecutor, I can help you navigate through the criminal justice system and fight to get you the best deal possible that is available. Best of luck.
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DISCLAIMER: These blog articles/videos are intended for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. Media posted on this channel, my other social media channels, and/or my website is intended for a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal advice in any specific situation. The Law Office of Richard Waring, LLC will accept no responsibility for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this publication. The information on this site and any other associated social media pages or website pages should not be construed as a guarantee of any result on your case. No bona fide expectation about how your own case will result can be drawn from these articles/videos alone as each case is different and must be looked at in its own unique light. No representation is made that the quality, service, or experience of hiring Law Office of Richard Waring, LLC is greater than the quality, service, or experience of other lawyers. Nothing contained in this article/video is intended to compare the type or quality of this firm’s services to the type or quality of any other lawyers or law firm’s services or to imply specialization or certification by any organization not previously approved by the South Carolina State BAR Board of Legal Specialization. Furthermore, Richard’s prior experience as a prosecutor does not in any way imply that he can improperly influence the government in getting you a better deal than any other attorney on your criminal case. No special treatment on your criminal case should be expected based on Richard’s prior prosecutorial experience, and Richard in no way suggests or implies that you will be given such special treatment by the government. All videos, photos, articles, blog posts or any other media published by Law Office of Richard Waring, LLC remain copyrighted and all rights are reserved.