If you have been charged with a crime, a skilled criminal defense attorney can often help you by getting your charges reduced under the following circumstances.
Entering A Plea Bargain In Oklahoma
As a criminal case progresses, often witnesses will disappear, evidence will be lost or new evidence will emerge that weakens the prosecutor’s case against you. The prosecutor may then feel that he or she will not be able to prove the case in court. When this happens, a skilled attorney will seize the opportunity to convince the prosecutor to dismiss the case against you due to lack of evidence. Even if he cannot succeed in getting the charges dismissed, more serious charges can often be reduced to less serious charges by means of a plea bargain.
A plea bargain is a legally-binding agreement made between the defendant and the state prosecutor in which the defendant agrees to plead guilty and forego a trial in exchange for a desired incentive, typically a reduction in the charges or the possible sentence he faces if convicted. A plea bargain may take place at any time after the initial arraignment, from the preliminary hearing until the day of the actual trial.
You have no constitutional or statutory legal right to a plea bargain, and the judge may choose to reject a plea bargain at his or her discretion. Furthermore, there are certain instances when a plea bargain will not be allowed.
Typically, however, if a plea bargain is allowed, the prosecutor and your defense attorney will do the negotiating to come to an agreement that is acceptable to all parties concerned, including the judge. Thus, most criminal cases in Oklahoma City are settled by some form of plea agreement.
Wobbler Crimes In Oklahoma
If you and your attorney cannot succeed in securing a plea bargain with the state attorney’s office, there is still the chance that your attorney can persuade the prosecutor to reduce the charge against you if the offense is one that is classified as a “wobbler” crime.
A wobbler crime is an offense that may either be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance of the case. For instance, theft of property with a value of less than $500 will be classified a misdemeanor in Oklahoma, while theft of property with a value of $500 or more may be classified as a felony.
Prosecutors frequently overcharge defendants, which leaves the door open for a skilled attorney to argue for the charges to be reduced to less serious charges. In addition, if you have little or no criminal record or have behaved well on probation in the past, your attorney can submit a written motion to the court to reduce a wobbler felony to a misdemeanor, which will benefit you greatly when it is time for you to be sentenced.
A Deferred or Suspended Sentence In Oklahoma
You may be able to avoid a conviction by applying for a deferred sentence. This means that, given your limited criminal history, the state prosecutor agrees to dismiss the charges against you if you plead guilty and agree to perform certain tasks or attend certain programs, such as a drug and alcohol program. If you successfully perform these tasks, the state will dismiss the charges against you and you will have avoided a conviction and jail time.
If you do not qualify for a deferred sentence, you might qualify for a suspended sentence, where even though you have been sentenced to serve time behind bars, the judge suspends your sentence upon your continued good behavior. If you fully comply with the conditions set forth by the judge, you will not have to serve time in jail.
Free Consultation: Oklahoma City Criminal Defense Attorney
For a free consultation with an Oklahoma criminal defense attorney, call the Wirth Law Office – Oklahoma City attorney at (405) 888-5400. You can also submit an email question from the top right corner of this page. We will respond as quickly as possible to all questions.