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New York Criminal Defense Blog

Should I accept a plea bargain?

If you’ve been charged with a crime, the prosecution may give you the chance to make a deal—known as a plea bargain. Typically, a plea bargain works like this: You get charged with a crime. The prosecution tells you that if you plead guilty to a specific lesser crime, you can skip the trial—thereby avoiding the more severe penalties you would have received if you were found guilty of the crime from your original charge.

For many defendants, the question of whether it’s a good idea to accept a plea bargain is extremely nerve-wracking. On the one hand, by accepting the deal, you’re guaranteed to face some penalties—probably including some jail time. On the other hand, facing those penalties is a better outcome than the worst case scenario.

New proposition lowers racial disparity in drug crime punishments

A new study from California has widespread implications that can reach all the way to New York. The study looked at racial disparities between blacks and whites in the criminal justice system. The study found that black defendants are less likely to have their cases dropped or dismissed, less likely to be successfully diverted, more likely to be released to another agency, and when convicted, receive the longest incarceration sentences and are the most likely to receive a prison sentence.

The December 2017 study showed that California’s Proposition 47, which reduced certain drug-possession felonies to misdemeanors and raised the threshold for felony theft and check forging from $450 to $950 in 2014 has helped narrow the disparity between races. The gap in sentence lengths between black and whites has dropped by half in San Francisco. The felony drug arrest percentage for blacks fell from 23 percent to 9 percent as well. It also decreased the average number of days suspects were held in pre-trial detention. Blacks went from 33 days down to 18 days, while whites went from 17 to 12 days.

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