7 Common Myths about Plea Deals

In Canada’s justice landscape, plea deals have been significant. There are quite a few things about plea bargains that need to be clarified. And while you might get stopped at DUI checkpoints, the spread of these myths is only destroyed if we address them head-on. So, let’s debunk some of the most common myths about plea deals.

Defendants must accept the first plea offer

Contrary to this belief, defendants don’t get cornered into accepting the first plea deal that comes their way. It’s like thinking the first pancake off the grill is the only one you get. Defendants have every right to discuss, negotiate, and weigh their options. Consulting with attorney terms is essential before making any decisions.

Plea bargains are only for guilty defendants

Here’s another misconception that needs clearing up. Plea deals get offered to both the guilty and those who claim innocence. At times, even those confident in their integrity may choose a plea deal, mainly to sidestep the uncertainties of a trial. It’s crucial, though, to approach such decisions with caution. Collaborating with legal counsel to make a well-informed decision ensures the defendant’s rights remain paramount.

Plea bargains are always a good deal for defendants

This myth is akin to assuming every Canadian winter will be mild – hopeful but not always accurate. Plea bargains might offer perks like reduced sentences or the dropping of certain charges. But they don’t universally represent the golden ticket. Accepting such a deal requires forfeiting the right to a trial and the chance to mount a defence. Defendants should assess the repercussions carefully, ideally with their attorney.

Prosecutors only offer plea bargains to avoid going to trial

Much like believing every Canadian loves hockey, assuming that plea bargains are a tactic to avoid trials is simplistic. Avoiding lengthy and costly problems might be a factor, but it’s not the only reason. Prosecutors consider various elements, such as the strength of their evidence. They can also examine a defendant’s past criminal behaviour and available resources. Additionally, plea deals can bring swift resolutions, which can be crucial for seeking closure.

Plea bargains are unregulated by law

Plea bargains are very much under the purview of Canadian law. The defence and the prosecution must find common ground regarding the plea’s terms, which requires court approval. Courts ensure the defendant is making an informed and voluntary decision, aware of the consequences. Legal standards and guidelines are in place to govern plea deals’ execution and ensure fair practice.

Plea bargains are only for minor offences

Plea deals span the spectrum of offences, from minor misdemeanours to weighty felonies. The defendant’s past and the prosecutor’s discretion all influence a plea deal’s availability and terms. Even grave offences can be subject to plea negotiations. However, the conditions might be more stringent than minor violations.

You are guilty if you accept a plea bargain

When defendants accept a plea deal, they admit guilt to some or all charges. It is often in exchange for lighter sentences or other benefits. However, this only sometimes equates to actual blame. Remember, once a plea deal is on the court record, it’s binding. The court emphasizes the need for a thorough understanding before the agreement.


Plea deals, an integral part of the Canadian legal fabric, come with their fair share of myths and misconceptions. The general public must be informed about plea deals and their implications. By debunking myths, we can approach plea bargains. It ensures justice remains transparent and fair for all Canadians.