Right to Attorney Extends to Plea Deals

Right to Attorney Extends to Plea Deals Banner Image

The Supreme Court last week ruled, for the first time, that defendants have a right to competent advice from an attorney when dealing in plea negotiations for lighter sentences.

The Court noted that, at a minimum, the defendant must be informed of all formal offers made by the prosecution that would result in a favorable plea deal.

Writing for the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that our nation’s criminal justice system is largely a “system of pleas, not a system of trials.” 94% of state convictions result from guilty pleas and not trial verdicts. Thus, it is crucial that the constitutional right to a competent lawyer extend to the back-and-forth of plea negotiations.

This nationwide trend in plea deals is also apparent in Los Angeles County courthouses. Depending on the facts of the case, it may be beneficial to discuss plea options with the prosecutor in an attempt to reduce the sentence.

If you have been charged with a DUI, other driving under the influence charges, possession of drugs or hit and runs in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or in the Airport courthouse, it is imperative that you contact criminal defense attorney Ross Erlich as soon as possible. Retaining an attorney early on in the process can help facilitate the dialogue between your defense attorney and the prosecutor in attempts to resolve the matter before it gets filed in court or early on in the legal process.