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Offered by Brighton Attorney Gregory R. McMahon

Many criminal and traffic cases in Colorado are settled by what is known as a plea bargain. A plea bargain is an agreement between the defense attorney and the District Attorney’s office to settle a case without a trial. In my experience, the District Attorney typically will drop at least one of the charges, sometimes the most serious one, in exchange for a guilty plea on the other charges.

If a plea agreement can be worked out, the next part of the negotiation involves the wide range of options for possible penalties: a fine, probation, classes in the case of a domestic violence offense or alcohol offense, useful public service, suspended jail, jail, a prison sentence, or what is called a deferred judgment and sentence.

Be sure to understand that a deferred judgment and sentence is a GUILTY plea, and by taking this offer you give up your rights to a trial. Deferred judgment and sentences come with many conditions. If you violate any of them, your deferred judgment can be revoked. The advantage of this plea is that if you abide by all the terms, the criminal charges will be removed from your record.

Finally, note that even if a plea bargain is worked out by the defense attorney and District Attorney’s office, the plea agreement MUST be accepted by the Judge. The Judge has the right to reject a plea agreement if he or she does not feel that it is a fair resolution to the case.

The information in this column is not legal advice nor does it constitute an attorney-client relationship

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Greg for the Defense