Poor plea bargaining by criminal defense attorneys has a major, systematic effect. Perhaps if there was cohesion between all defense attorneys in a community, this could be improved.
The prosecutor can avoid going to trial and still put the defendant in a perilous position, by offering a plea bargain with lots of pitfalls for the defendant. The defendant may wind up convicted and in jail or prison, just because they were not organized, smart, or hard working enough to complete their various sentencing requirements. Once the defendant takes the plea bargain, it does not matter if he or she was innocent in the first place. That is not a defense to a probation violation action.
If enough defense attorneys have their clients accept deals that put their clients at an unreasonably high risk of being revoked or accelerated, those deals will be considered “standard” and it will be harder for a judge to give something different without worrying about criticism. Once it gets to that point, defense attorneys start accepting those offers left and right, believing that is probably what the judge would do if it were left up to him or her. This makes it harder on the attorneys that are willing to vigorously contest the terms of a plea bargain. So, defense attorneys in a community should work together for the purpose of negotiating “standard recs” that are in fact not unreasonably burdensome.
Locally, the prosecution always wants to put defendants under the D.A.’s own probation supervision program. One aspect of DA probation supervision that should be discussed is the program’s drug testing requirements. Those are controversial in Rogers County. Those on Rogers County D.A. supervision are made to call in literally every day to find out if they have to deposit a urine sample (at the defendant’s expense). This is particularly foolish when applied to defendants whose crime was not substance use-related or to Defendants who, for employment or residential purposes, will not be reasonably near a testing facility. Yet, very few exceptions are made. If your crime had nothing to do with drug use and if you cannot conveniently comply with drug testing requirements, you are still told you have to comply, and they file to revoke or accelerate your probation sentence if you do not. In this situation, a defendant would have been better served to either have a trial on his or her charges or do a blind plea, where you enter a plea of guilty or nolo contendere and allow the judge to impose the sentence he or she deems to be appropriate, which must fall within sentencing requirements mandated by law.
If you are charged with a crime in Northeastern Oklahoma, please turn to Price Law, P.C. Attorneys Jeff Price and Sofia Johnson have professionally represented thousands of other clients in criminal cases. You will receive the best plea offer possible and you will be given an honest and detailed assessment of your case, allowing you to make the right choice about whether we should file motions in your case and about the ultimate method of disposition of the case, whether that is a dismissal by the court, a jury trial, a nonjury trial, a blind plea or a plea bargain.