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How plea-bargaining works in the federal criminal justice system

On Behalf of | Nov 2, 2022 | federal offenses | 0 comments

When federal authorities believe you committed a federal offense, they may decide to have the appropriate federal agency investigate the matter further. Federal investigations work differently than Texas criminal cases, and there are several different steps involved in the pre-trial stage of a federal case.

Per the FBI, depending on circumstances, you may have the option of issuing a guilty plea to a federal offense as part of a plea bargain. It is up to the government, and to some degree, you, as well, if this is going to be an option for you.

What a plea bargain is

When you decide to make a plea bargain in federal court, you agree to plead guilty to a particular federal offense in exchange for some kind of concession from the prosecuting attorney. The concession might involve dismissing particular charges, recommending a particular sentence or something similar. If there was a victim involved in the case, that victim may have a chance to come forward and meet with the prosecutor before the plea bargain becomes official.

What a plea bargain does

Once you and the government reach a plea bargain, it becomes the court’s decision whether to accept it. The victim, if applicable, may have a chance to make an impact statement in court. If the court agrees to the plea bargain, it then sets a sentencing date and decides whether you must remain in custody until then. The court may also decide to reject the proposed plea agreement. In this scenario, you have the option of withdrawing the guilty plea and moving forward with a trial.

Whether plea bargaining makes sense depends on certain variables, including the strength of the case against you and the proposed terms of the plea agreement.