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Should I Take a Plea Bargain for a Sex Crime?

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A defendant who is charged with a sex crime in Texas may be facing some serious legal penalties. These penalties can include jail time, fines and sex offender registration. One way to avoid the full extent of these possible penalties is to accept a plea bargain from the prosecution.

A plea bargain is an agreement between the defense and the prosecution. In many cases, the prosecution will be the district attorney. In a plea bargain, the district attorney may offer a deal to the defendant after charges have been filed and before a trial takes place.

In most cases, the plea bargain will require the defendant to enter a guilty plea in court. However, the defendant may only have to plead guilty to a lesser charge than the crime for which he or she was originally charged. Alternatively, if the defendant is charged on multiple counts, he or she may only have to plead guilty to one or a few of the total charges.

Benefits of Plea Bargains

There are several advantages for a defendant who chooses to accept a plea bargain for sexually based offenses. Some of these benefits can include:

  • Reduced jail time
  • Reduced fines
  • Conviction on a misdemeanor charge rather than a felony charge
  • Probation instead of jail time

When it comes to sexual crimes, plea bargaining is a possibility. However, a plea bargain for a sex crime may work differently when compared to other types of offenses.

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Plea Bargains and Sex Offender Registration

Mandatory sex offender registration is one of the most serious consequences for a sex crime. This mandatory registration may be valid for the remainder of the defendant’s life or for a period of several years. For defendants who receive prison time, the registration can activate once they are released from incarceration.

Registration can require a person to:

Obviously, these are very serious consequences. A person accused of a sexual offense may wonder if a plea bargain can help them avoid this mandatory registration.

In reality, this may not be possible. A person who admits guilt to a sex crime for which registration is required must register as a sex offender. In general, the only way to avoid sex offender registration is accept a plea bargain for a lesser charge for which registration is not a requirement.

For example, if a defendant is charged with a crime for which registration is a requirement but accepts a plea bargain for a charge that does not require registration, that defendant could potentially avoid registration. He or she may still have to face incarceration, probation and fines but it may be worth it to avoid the stigma of sex offender registration.

Should I Take A Plea Bargain?

This is not an easy question to answer. Every case involving sex crime charges will be different. In some cases, a defendant may stand to gather a lot of advantages by accepting a plea bargain.

However, a plea bargain requires a total admission of guilt and pleading guilty to any sex crime can have serious consequences. There can be an element of public shame and humiliation that may be just as bad as jail time.

The best strategy for a defendant in this situation is to consult with an experienced attorney. An attorney may be able to examine the facts of the case and the charges that have been filed and make a recommendation. In addition, an attorney may be able to negotiate with the court for a new plea bargain that is more favorable to the defendant.

The average person will not have the knowledge or experience to negotiate with the court on their own and public defenders may be overworked or inexperienced. Hiring a lawyer as soon as sex crime charges are filed is a great first step towards building a strong legal defense that may secure a favorable plea bargain.

If you’ve been accused of a sex crime, it’s crucial to contact an experienced attorney. Brett A. Podolsky will fight to protect your rights. Call 713-227-0087 or email for a confidential consultation today!

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Law Office of Brett A. Podolsky
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