In the superior courts of North Carolina, most of the criminal cases are disposed of with guilty pleas. In fact, from 2002 to 2003, only 2,887 superior court cases in North Carolina were resolved through a jury trial, while 69,649 cases were settled through guilty pleas. Guilty pleas help to relieve some of the criminal case backlogs in the state’s criminal justice system and often provide swifter resolutions for the parties involved in those cases.
Generally, it is in your best interests to enter into a plea bargain if:
You are guilty of a serious crime, AND
The evidence that will be used to convict you of that crime is strong.
If these factors hold true, the plea bargain will usually allow you to get a lesser charge or a less severe punishment for admitting to the crime, rather than awaiting trial, conviction by a jury, and the sentencing of a judge. If you are facing multiple charges, one or more of those charges may be completely dropped, which means your penalties will be significantly reduced, too.
Plea negotiations may not be offered to unrepresented defendants, so you need an experienced Raleigh criminal attorney to provide legal counsel and help you decide if a guilty plea will be favorable. Your lawyer will also help you understand the different kinds of plea or which one best suits your case, as well as walk you through the stages of plea bargaining.