Kansas Plea Agreements

Attorney Vincent Rivera

A vast majority of cases end up pleading out. When I receive a plea offer, I always ask two questions:

  1. What are we getting? Are they dismissing charges? Are they agreeing to a below-guideline sentence?
  2. Can we do better on our own? (Going to trial)

This is a far more difficult question because that question involves: What is the likelihood of your legal defenses winning and/or the likelihood of your factual defense winning at trial?

I'll let you in on a little secret: most attorneys will get the exact same plea offer at the beginning of the case, whether you have a court-appointed public defender, or whether you've dropped thousands of dollars on an attorney. You need an Olathe trial attorney when negotiations break down.

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Why You Need a Trial Attorney

Why do you need an experienced litigator if you're just going to plea the case out? A trial attorney is capable of taking something past the initial round of plea negotiations, file motions, and ultimately try the case. That's why you need an experienced litigator - because when plea negotiations break down, we have to fall back to fighting the case, filing motions to suppress, and filing motions to dismiss.

Our Olathe trial lawyers ultimately have to start teeing up for trial, and even down the line, we're trying to set it up for appeal. The idea is that even if you do want to plea out, sometimes the prosecutor wont give us an acceptable offer, but a trial attorney is able to push the matter and get plea offer that’s acceptable.

What Is a Plea Agreement?

A plea bargain is when the defendant agrees to enter a plea other than not guilty to one or more of the charges against him or her or to a lesser charge. In return, the defendant receives some benefit such as a less sever charge, probation, shorter prison sentence, or other consideration.

A plea bargain is negotiated between the defense attorney and prosecutor and then formalized at a court hearing. A plea bargain ends the case, and there is no trial or further court appearances other than a possible separate sentencing hearing.

How Often Are Cases Resolved With a Plea Bargain?

Although popular TV shows and movies may make it seem like a criminal case is destined to go to trial, immediately after an arrest is made and charges are filed, In truth, across the country, less than 5% of cases make it to jury trial. Nearly all are resolved with a plea bargain. Since you or your loved one will almost certainly be offered a plea bargain, read the FAQs below to learn about the process.

The Four (4) Different Types of Pleas

With a few exceptions, any kind of plea you can image is possible: dropping the case, probation instead of prison, misdemeanors instead of felonies, plea to “this” charge and not “that” charge. The question is not, “can” the question is “will.” The question is not “can we do this kind of plea?” the question is “will the prosecutor agree to this plea?”

1. Not Guilty Plea

The defendant denies they charges, and wishes to contest them. Generally, all defendants enter a plea of not guilty initially.

2. Guilty Plea

Indicates that the defendant accepts the charges against him. The defendant can plead guilty to all of the charges, some of the charges, or to a lesser charge if one is offered. A guilty plea results in a conviction of that charge with the same effect as being found guilty by a jury. If a defendant pleads guilty to only some of the charges without a plea deal in place, the case will continue for the other charges.

3. No Contest Plea

Is effectively the same as a guilty plea in criminal court. However, in a civil lawsuit, it cannot be used as evidence of an admission of guilt because it literally means the defendant did not contest the charges, and not that they admitted to them.

4. Alford plea

Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court, the defendant in a criminal case does not admit guilt and declares innocence. Although, the defendant does believe that the evidence the prosecution has will most likely persuade a judge and/or jury that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Different Types of Plea Bargains

Charge Bargaining

The negotiation of specific criminal charges where the defendant will plead "guilty" to a lesser charge than the original or most serious charge. In exchange for a guilty plea, the prosecutor will dismiss the more serious charges.

Count Bargaining

Defendants who face multiple charges may be allowed to plead guilty to fewer counts. The charges need not be identical: the prosecutor may drop any charge or charges in exchange for a guilty plea on the remaining charges.

Sentence Bargaining

The Prosecutor may provide alternative sentences in exchange for the defendant pleading "guilty". In a common example defendants will often plead guilty to Murder out of fear of receiving the death penalty.

Fact Bargaining

Prosecutors and the defendants will bargain over which version of events will be presented to the court. The Prosecutor will not challenge the events when presented in court.

Open to argue

Here, the defense and prosecutor have agreed on which charges will be plead to, but have not agreed on disposition. Often, in this scenario, the parties will be arguing over prison vs probation, or the length of a prison sentence.

Plea Bargains FAQ's

Our Kansas Criminal Defense Firm Can Help

Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Vincent Rivera, Kansas Criminal Defense Lawyer

Vincent Rivera, the founding attorney of Rivera Law, specializes in telling the complete story when you're charged with a crime. The legal system often doesn't hear the full narrative of the accused, focusing on pleas and confessions instead of understanding the individual at the heart of the case. Vincent, however, believes that you are more than their version of the story. He takes the time to learn about you and what happened, ensuring your voice is heard in court.

With extensive experience in both State and Federal courts, Vincent has handled a diverse range of cases, including domestic battery, drug possession and distribution, DUIs, federal crimes, and felony murder. He's not just familiar with these charges - he's an expert who trains law students and other attorneys how to be effective litigators. This deep understanding of the law and the courtroom allows him to answer the question "Can we do better on our own?" confidently. He can evaluate the strength of your legal and factual defenses and make an informed decision about whether going to trial is in your best interest.

Vincent Rivera's approach to legal representation goes beyond his expertise and experience. He is a dedicated attorney, consistently pursuing top-level training throughout his career. This commitment is reflected in his work ethic; he doesn't just rely on his past experience. Instead, he constantly trains, learning the best techniques from experts in the field. His dedication assures you that when negotiations break down, he won't be just another attorney. He'll be your tireless advocate, trained and ready to fight for your rights in court. His dedication has not only resulted in successful outcomes but also earned him the Kansas Legal Educator Award twice.

When you choose Rivera Law, you're not just hiring an attorney; you're gaining a dedicated advocate who will tirelessly fight for your rights.