If you face criminal charges, the prosecution will probably offer you a plea deal. In return for pleading guilty to the charge they choose, you could get off lightly. Or at least that is how they will portray it.
Anyone trying to sell you something you might not want tends to highlight the positives and gloss over the negatives. Prosecutors are not different, and some would say they go too far by pressuring you into accepting one.
What advantages do plea deals have?
Prosecutors typically offer the deal based on a lesser charge that carries less severe penalties than the one they initially accused you of.
Knowing the sentence or penalties that you will get can reduce the stress that comes from not knowing. For instance, instead of lying awake wondering if you will ever see your children again before they grow up, you know that you will see them in a defined amount of time.
Waiting around for a trial can feel like a waste of life, especially if you cannot afford the bail and spend that time behind bars. Again, a plea deal can help you avoid that.
What are the disadvantages?
The number one disadvantage of accepting a plea deal is that you must plead guilty. That might be fine if you committed the crime, but if you did not, you agree to have your name tarnished without a challenge. You agree to take a criminal record and sentence for something you never did.
A criminal record can restrict you in ways you may never have considered, making gaining specific employment, housing or voluntary positions more challenging or impossible.
A plea deal can be worth considering, but ensure you have guidance to weigh it up against the various criminal defense options available.