Decision of Plea vs Trial

Decision of Plea vs Trial

Plea Bargain vs Bench vs Jury Trial

For anyone facing criminal charges the natural tendency is to hire a lawyer and fight the charges. The question is, what is meant by "fight the charges"? Fighting could be negotiating a plea deal or taking the matter the distance and challenge the prosecutors in a trial. This page will introduce you to the options for managing a criminal charges defense.

Dismissal of Charges

If the circumstances of the case are murky and shallow an attorney may be able to persuade the prosecutor's office to drop or dismiss the charges. This is easier to do if the offense is something very minor. A very minor offense (shoplifting a candy bar) is simply not worth the time, effort, and cost to pursue it, especially if the evidence is lacking. If the accused has never been in trouble it can help a lawyer to achieve dismissal of charges.

If these circumstances don't fit the case, the case will be pushed forward and the defense attorney will then use their experience, judgment, and skills to guide the client to the best possible outcome.

Negotiated Plea Bargain

In a negotiated process the defense lawyer may seek alternative sentencing such as the First Offender Program. This program has certain punitive actions, however; if the requirements are met, the accused will not have a permanent criminal record for the charge.

A negotiated plea bargain typically comes into play where the odds of winning a trial are very bad. If the prosecution has overwhelming evidence it's a near certainity that the accused will be found guilty. In a trial, the sentence and punishment that is placed on the accused is largely unpredictable.

With a negotiated plea, the lawyer can seek to have charges reduced, seek probation instead of incarceration, and seek the lightest possible sentence if incarceration is demanded. In short, the defense lawyer is managing a crash landing in the judical system.

Bench Trial

What is a bench trial in Georgia? A bench trial is a judicial proceeding that does not use a jury and a judge makes the determination of guilty or not-guilty. An example of a bench trial is the experience of fighting a traffic ticket in court or minor disagreements in a divorce. If the prosecutor has a strong relationship with the judge, even thought the judge should be impartial, the accused is at a disadvantage.

Trial by Jury

What is a trial by jury in Georgia? As the name implies, this is a judicial proceeding where a jury will decide if the accused is deemed to be guilty or not guilty. It is extremely difficult to predict the outcome of a jury trial.

Other Factors That Influence a Case

Perhaps the top factor in how a case is treated is the general attitude of the district attorney or soliciter. Some counties are extremely aggressive in seeking convictions for any criminal charge. Some counties are harsher on the most egregious offense such as sex crimes and violent crimes. And, like it or not, elected positions in the criminal justice system may lean toward seeking convictions to maintain a tough on crime reputation to help stay in their elected position.

Your best option is to search for the best defense lawyer near me and get their advice. A local lawyer knows the judges, prosecutors, and how different types of cases tend to go in their area.


If you have been arrested or charged with a crime you need to hire an expert defense lawyer. Call us at 77-956-1400 to arrange time to discuss your situation and get answers to your questions.