Lafler-Frye Hearings

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Because over 90% of criminal cases result in a plea bargain of some form, negotiating plea bargains is one of the most critical components of handling a criminal case.  Deciding whether or not to accept a plea bargain is an extremely strategic decision.  While you should default to trusting your attorney and their strategy, deciding whether or not to accept the plea bargain is ultimately your decision and should be considered carefully.  If you are scheduled for a Lafler-Frye hearing, it is a very brief and procedural hearing where the judge will just want to get on the record that you are fully informed of a plea bargain that you are declining to accept and that you have a detailed understanding of its specificities.

Plea Bargain Strategies

While much of practicing law is a science, negotiating plea bargains is an art.

There are many reasons why an attorney would accept or reject a plea bargain.  The most obvious reason would be the strength of the prosecutor’s case against you and how likely a conviction is, balanced against how lenient the bargain is in comparison to what you stand to face if you roll the dice on a trial and lose.

An attorney may also decline to accept a plea bargain because they expect that another plea bargain will be made later with more favorable terms.  This can be a gamble though, as prosecutors often put expiration dates on plea bargains and will not give you another opportunity to accept a bargain if you decline when you are presented with it.  Your Defense attorney will be most able to make an informed decision on this based on the interactions they have had with the prosecutor in your case, or in prior cases if they have practiced long enough that it is a prosecutor they have had previous dealings with.

Your attorney should also consider the typical outcomes of the specific office that is prosecuting you as a whole, beyond just the prosecutor that has been assigned to you.  This is because prosecutors report to the District Attorney or Solicitor General of the county you are facing charges in.  This is due to these positions being politically appointed, and District Attorneys and Solicitor Generals often have “policies” that factor in to what they will or not approve their prosecutors to offer based on the views of the people in their county. 

For example, some counties don’t usually prosecute marijuana crimes and are extremely lenient on the punishments for it, so your attorney may be wise to decline an offer of probation and hold out for a pre-trial diversion offer in such a county.  Other counties, though, are extremely tough on drug crimes and will seek the highest sentencing possible (which often result in mandatory minimum sentences of 10-30 years), and in such a county your attorney may be wise to accept an offer of probation before it goes away, even if you have a strong case.


If you have been charged with a crime and need the best local criminal defense attorney, give @bixonlaw a call today to speak to one of our experienced Georgia criminal defense lawyers. We will vigorously defend your criminal defense rights, and advocate on your behalf to have your criminal case dismissed or your charges reduced. As experienced trial attorneys, we are not afraid to take your case to trial if necessary. We represent clients in Atlanta and throughout the state of Georgia. We are lawyers who are committed to helping people in difficult situations, and we invite you to call us at (404) 551-5684 for a free consultation on your case today.