Sunday, July 1, 2012

When is a Bargain Not a Bargain? New York Lawyer Explains the Three Keys to a Plea Bargain

Riddle me this Batman, and so I thought I knew what a bargain was until I met some assistant DAs who had other ideas very different than my own. Bargains are always very personal opinions. They are when a buyer meets a seller, and thinks (believes) he is getting the better end of the stick.

I negotiate regularly. It is an art and a science. Most matters in this country are handled by plea bargaining. Over the course of my life I have gotten bargains. I have also had some people look to sell me things with prices way over what they were worth. I am a seeker of value. When something is or is not worth it, I'll be the first to let you know. I flatly refuse horrible deals.

So when is a bargain NOT a bargain:

1. When you are "paying" too much.

Nobody likes to pay too much for anything, even a crime. Paying too much can mean a few different things within the area of criminal law. Settling on a deal with either (a) too many charges (offenses), OR (b) charges that are at too high a level, OR (c) sentencing positions (recommendations) that are too harsh. This paying too much must always be based upon the charges, nature/circumstances of the offense, your potential defenses to the crime, and/or your past history.

2. When you are NOT fully informed of your Future Obligations (conditions).

Maybe your obligations will extend beyond the surface (beyond the written condition). Everything will not always be spelled out. Your lawyer needs to fill in the blanks, and help you read between the lines.

example one: If you are being evaluated or assessed (mentally or chemically) you will also need to follow through with recommendations. So you better ADD that in, that's another obligation (the follow through).

example two: All the terms and conditions of either a CD (conditional discharge) or Probation can have
additions and deletions (better read them carefully). Time periods can vary from months to years.

3. If the Judge is NOT going along with it.

S/he has to agree with the deal (the offer) or the deal is going nowhere. It's NO deal if it can never be consummated. Judges are always the third party to every deal. A prosecutor or ADA that makes me an offer must make one that is going to go through. I always want to know if the Judge is going to agree or is the Judge going along with a range. Will they agree to no greater than the PSI, or no greater than 30 days, or no greater than ________ blank.

Three very simple reasons that a deal (bargain) is NOT a bargain.

Lawrence (Larry) Newman, D.C., J.D.

Doctor of Chiropractic
Attorney and Counselor at Law

504 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850