Plea bargaining can be beneficial for everyone involved. It is not unusual for criminal defense attorneys to negotiate with prosecutors; they may be able to minimize the penalties for serious crimes by doing so. Prosecutors may agree to pursue a lesser prison sentence or offer probation in exchange for the accused’s cooperation on another case. Or, prosecutors might be willing to drop felony charges in exchange for a guilty plea on lesser misdemeanor charges. Plea agreements are not without stipulations, however.
An Arizona woman who made a plea agreement with the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office was prohibited from using marijuana as part of that agreement, despite the fact that she possesses a medical marijuana card. She is currently on probation awaiting sentencing for crimes including driving under the influence and resisting arrest. The woman’s attorney argued that using marijuana for medical purposes is legal in Arizona and, therefore, could not be prohibited in the plea agreement. A Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the woman, allowing her to use the substance for medical purposes while on probation. The prosecutor plans to appeal the verdict.
This case underscores the importance of having an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight for your constitutional rights, even beyond the criminal charges that you are facing. Very few cases are without complexities and special circumstances. Plea negotiations can be very beneficial in some instances, but there may be other legal options available that could be more beneficial based on the unique details surrounding your case.
Source: KTAR.com, “Arizona judge OKs woman’s medical pot use during probation,” Associated Press, Oct. 24, 2013.