Celebrities are not immune from law-breaking. From drunk driving, to assault, to shoplifting, those who have it all seem to make some very poor decisions in life. Chris Brown, Mel Gibson, and Hugh Grant has all spent time on (or are currently on) probation, living under the ever watchful eye of a probation officer watching for re-occurrence of criminal offense and reporting their every action. No one has ever argued that living on probation is pleasant, especially not in the public eye. Newspapers continually publish criminal proceedings information and then utilize paparazzi to follow celebrities every move to seek out the first sign of probation violation, however for many of the crimes committed by celebrities, probation seems to be simply a minor slap on the risk for some very serious crimes. It is often argued that the crimes celebrities engage in would garner the average person a much more serious sentence and that money truly does allow celebrities to have access to a different justice system than the rest of us.
While it is true that being wealthy is certainly an advantage when facing a criminal proceeding, the truth of the matter is more complex than it seems. Celebrities receive relatively light sentences because they practically always take a plea bargain when facing criminal charges. It is extremely rare for a celebrity to go to trial when charged with a crime. One reason for this is because the prosecuting attorney realizes that the defendant has substantial funds at their disposal to fight the charge in court and taking the case to trial may not be a responsible use of taxpayer money if there is ability for the defendant’s attorneys to create reasonable doubt. Another reason is that the prosecuting attorney is aware of the difficulty of prosecuting a celebrity. Beyond the well-financed defense attorneys, the defendant may require a change in venue, police protection, and significant effort to find an impartial jury. For celebrities with no or minor criminal records, it simply makes good financial sense to offer a plea bargain.
While plea bargains may be used almost universally with celebrities, many cases with normal people are settled this way. When a prosecuting attorney receives a case, they may review it to determine whether it may be a good candidate for a plea bargain. Previous criminal records will be taken into account. However, beyond prior acts, the attorney may consider the type of support system the defendant has available to them, the likelihood of re-offense, the odds of success for this type of criminal to complete probation or alternative program successfully, and the attitude and ‘remorsefulness’ of the defendant. The strength of the evidence is one of the strongest factors in whether a plea bargain is offered, but this is not the only factor. If the prosecuting attorney feels the defendant is a good candidate for probation, a much less severe sentence may be received.
An experienced and professional law firm can assist if you are facing criminal charges. Driving under the influence, assault, burglary, larceny and drug possession are all charges that potentially can receive a plea bargain, plus many others. A plea bargain can be a vital tool in avoiding jail time and starting your life over. If you are facing criminal charges, contact a qualified law firm immediately to give you the best chance of securing a beneficial plea bargain. Attempting to proceed without knowledgeable representation that is experienced in this area can be disastrous. You may only have one opportunity to avoid jail time, don’t waste it, contact a legal professional today to protect your rights.