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Could a plea deal reduce your sentence in a drug charge?

The state of Georgia takes a hard stance against those accused of distributing and trafficking large amounts of hard drugs. That is a lesson that one 27-year-old Colquitt County man recently learned after being sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for distribution of methamphetamine in both Cook and Thomas Counties, the U.S. Justice Department reported.

Following his release from incarceration, the defendant will have to serve an additional five years of supervised relief.

Prior convictions could play role in your opportunities for a plea deal

The above defendant had previous convictions here in Georgia, with at least one for theft in Colquitt County Superior Court. If you get arrested on drug charges, you can believe that the prosecutors will scour your criminal history for prior arrests and convictions.

A lengthy criminal history can make the court much less likely to offer or agree to a plea bargain in your current case. It is not known from the news reports whether this defendant sought or was granted a plea bargain on any of his felony charges.

Misdemeanor drug charges frequently plead out

Were it not for plea bargains, the weight of the criminal justice system would cause it to come to a grinding halt and collapse. There simply is not enough time or courtroom personnel to try each criminal case on its merits.

So, enter the plea bargain, which is a very useful tool. Prosecutors like pleas because they reflect courtroom wins. Defendants choose to accept pleas because they can either lessen the charges they face or shorten their sentences upon conviction — often sidestepping incarceration entirely.

How to tell when to take a plea deal

Not all defendants should agree to accept a plea bargain. Certainly, an innocent defendant deserves their day in court to prove their innocence. But in some cases of drug violations, a plea bargain may be the best possible outcome a defendant can expect.

Discuss your case and the merits of plea bargaining with your Valdosta criminal law attorney before accepting any plea agreements from the prosecutor.