Gavel with handcuffsThis is the next post in our series on issues an Arkansas defendant should understand before accepting a plea deal. Our last post stressed the need to speak with an attorney prior to pleading guilty in a case. Discussing one’s situation with counsel is crucial as there may be better options which one is not aware of. In this post we will look at why one may wish to wait until pretrial motions are filed before accepting a plea deal.

A prosecutor will typically make an initial plea offer when a case begins. This offer is based upon a preliminary analysis of the evidence by the prosecution. When formulating the preliminary offer, the prosecution considers issues such as the likelihood of conviction, the severity of the alleged conduct, the defendant’s prior history, etc. As the case proceeds, however, issues may arise which change some of these considerations. These issues, which are raised through pretrial motions, may cause the prosecutor to alter their calculations. If the case is based on an eyewitness identification which proves to be problematic then one’s criminal defense lawyer may be able to file to exclude the witness from testifying in Court. Similarly, issues regarding search and seizure or the Fifth Amendment may weaken the prosecution’s case.

Once a pretrial motion, which has potential merit, is filed on one of the above-referenced issues then the prosecution may recognize that there is a chance of the defense winning the motion. Quite often winning such a Motion will result in the defense essentially ending the prosecution. In order to avoid this outcome the prosecution may be willing to alter their original plea offer to something more favorable. Consulting an attorney, who can recognize possible issues to be raised in a pretrial motion, is critical. Qualified counsel can advise you whether it is in your best interests to accept an initial offer or instead proceed with the filing of pretrial motions.

Our Little Rock lawyers take a team based approach to problem solving. Once retained in a case we will quickly acquire the police reports, arrest reports, witness statements, etc. We will fully analyze the evidence to determine if there are search and seizure issues which should be raised, whether there are potential Fifth Amendment violations which should be brought to the Court’s attention, and whether other potential pretrial motions can be filed. We will be in contact with you throughout the case and will give you our honest assessment as to whether you should accept an initial plea offer, if you should wait for a better offer, or if you should go forward and fight the charges. We are ready to assist you. Contact our office today to schedule an initial consultation.