A plea agreement is a contract between the state and a criminal defendant. That said, due process is the priority over contract law. As a result, plea bargains can undergo a lot more scrutiny than your average contract. The state has a lot more bargaining power compared to the defendant and as such, the courts have a tendency to resolve conflicts in favor of defendants.
Keep reading to learn more about these cases and then contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 if you are in need of the best criminal defense attorney in the area.
You Have a Constitutional Right to Have Your Plea Bargain Enforced
Barring issues of due process, you have a constitution right to have any plea bargain accepted by the court to be enforced. If it is not enforced, and there is a breach, then it is up to you to prove that the prosecution violated said agreement.
When the courts consider your case, they will look at whether it was the prosecutor or defendant who breached the plea agreement, whether the breach was intentional or inadvertent, whether circumstances have changed since the plea bargain, and what exactly the defendant is looking to get from the pela bargain.
The Prosecution’s Intent is Relevant – to an Extent
Strictly speaking, the intent of the prosecution is relevant. For example, if they simply made a mistake and did not mean to break the bargain, that is relevant. However, the mistake is not generally a reasonable defense to break the bargain. As a result, a defendant can be entitled to relief even in situations in which the prosecution accidently broke the agreement.
It’s All About “Reasonable Understanding”
The court will generally apply the factors discussed above to determine if a breach of the plea agreement occurred. They will consider the “reasonable understanding” of all involved parties at the time the agreement was finalized. If the court decides that the prosecutor breached the plea bargain, then a remedy must be determined.
Remedies for Breach of Plea Agreement
The remedy for any particular breach will vary based on the specifics of the case. For example, if the prosecution agreed to drop a charge in exchange for a guilty plea, and the charge was not dropped, then the remedy would be to drop the charge. If the agreement was for a reduced sentence and a harsher sentence was applied, then the remedy would be a reduction in the sentence.
If you believe that the state has breached a plea agreement you made with them, then we welcome you to contact Law Offices of Patrick S. Aguirre at 800-572-1252 for your free legal consultation. We will listen to your case, consider the evidence available, and provide you with our best legal opinion.