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Is there a Louisiana trial penalty?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Louisiana residents accused of a crime have a right to a fair trial. But there’s rising concern those individuals may face a trial penalty if they choose to have a trial. The trial penalty is when people receive harsher sentences specifically because they go to trial instead of accepting a plea bargain.

Trial penalty

The trial penalty is a controversial topic in the criminal justice system. Some argue that there’s no trial penalty. However, there are legal and civil liberties advocates who argue there is a trial penalty. These advocates work to ensure that defendants aren’t penalized for using their constitutional right to a fair trial.

About 98 percent of cases in the federal system accept plea deals instead of going to court. Statistics show this is also true for states like New York and Texas.

Perhaps this is because defendants are afraid of going to trial. They may worry that if they go to trial and are convicted, they will get a harsher sentence for refusing the plea bargain.

Plea bargain

A plea bargain is sometimes available during cases involving murder & other homicide crimes. It allows the defendant to plead guilty or no contest to the charges. In exchange, they receive reduced charges or some other form of leniency.

A plea bargain is generally used to avoid the cost and time of a trial. It also reduces the number of trials placed on the criminal justice system. However, a plea bargain isn’t necessarily in the defendant’s best interest. There have been cases where innocent people accepted a plea bargain for fear of what would happen if they went to trial.

The Sixth Amendment guarantees criminal defendants the right to trial. This includes the right to a lawyer, an impartial jury, and the right to know the charges and evidence.