Court rules in all jurisdictions in the United States encourage negotiation, but prosecutors are not required to negotiate. For example when you are faced murder Fees in New Jerseythe prosecutor doesn’t have to offer you a plea. If a prosecutor has a slam dunk case against you, you don’t need to file a request. The prosecutor may have a video of you committing the murder and it is literally guaranteed a conviction in court. Once a jury sees the video, they have no choice but to judge.
Now let’s put that example aside and discuss how criminal charges are downgraded as a form of negotiation. As a criminal defense lawyersWhen we work with prosecutors, we discuss ways to resolve the case before us. We discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the case of the state, our client’s criminal history (or lack thereof), our client’s probation options, possible punishment options (conviction), dismissing some charges, admitting other charges, and finally downgrading criminal charges.
The downgrading of criminal charges is at the heart of all negotiations. The police often overwhelm a defendant. Overloading means that you have been accused of doing something much worse than what you actually did.
For example, let’s say you were charged with 2nd degree heavy attack. You are accused of breaking someone’s jaw (resulting in serious bodily harm). After doing our research, we learn that the victim’s jaw was broken before you hit him. We can’t deny that you hit the victim, but you didn’t cause his broken jaw. In this situation, you have committed a serious attack (slapped someone in the face), but at most you would be guilty of one thing 4th degree crime.
In this scenario, we would draft a plea to reflect the downgrade of the criminal charges.