When someone in Pittsburgh is arrested and charged with a crime, prosecutors often will offer a plea bargain. In a plea agreement, the defendant usually will plead guilty to the charges in exchange for the prosecution recommending a reduced sentence. Depending on the circumstances, it may make sense to accept the plea bargain instead of taking the case to trial and risk a harsher sentence.
In a recent example, the solicitor of nearby McKeesport has pleaded guilty to reduced criminal charges in connection with a car accident he was in early in 2012. After his plea on March 4, the prosecutors will recommend his a sentence of 30 days' house arrest and a $750 dollar fine. He also will lose his driver's license for one year. The official sentencing is not until May 22, but judges typically follow prosecutors' recommendations when a plea agreement has been reached.
The solicitor's car drove through a fence and struck a building one night in January 2012. Police officers in McKeesport claimed that the defendant smelled of alcohol and that a blood-alcohol test measured him at 0.196. It appears that the defendant and his attorney decided to accept the plea bargain after weighing the evidence.
Every case is different, and in many cases it is not a good idea to plead guilty due to weaknesses in the prosecution's case, police misconduct or other reasons. An experienced criminal defense attorney can evaluate your case and help you decide whether to fight the charges in court.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "McKeesport solicitor pleads guilty to reduced charges from crash," Annie Siebert, March 4, 2013
· Our law firm provides criminal defense against a variety of charges. Please visit our Pittsburgh criminal defense page for more information.