The plea bargaining phase is one important period when the advantages of retaining a great criminal attorney really come to light. While some defendants may view settling on a plea bargain as taking the easy way out, it also can sometimes be the best way.
For example, in an assault case, a defense might be able to arrange for a plea bargain for the defendant to plead guilty in exchange for time served (the time the defendant has already spent in jail while waiting for his case to progress), probation, and the completion of an anger management course—a sentence much lighter than what the defendant might get if he goes to trial.
Success in securing a lighter sentence during the plea bargaining phase can also have a lot to do with an attorney’s experience working in a particular jurisdiction—and sometimes even his interpersonal skills. Often, plea bargains are struck during short, informal encounters between the prosecution and the defense. Typically, if the prosecution’s lawyer feels like he can trust the defense, then an agreeable deal for both parties can easily be made.
Ultimately, however, acceptance of a plea bargain rests on the defendant’s hands, and it is for this reason it becomes important that a level of trust is earned between an attorney and his client. Without this trust, it would be difficult for the attorney to advise the defendant on the best course of action for his case.