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Q:     Are most plea bargains made before the prelim, during, or after?  I am doing a research paper for Marshall High School and I thought this is the perfect website to get some answers. My… Scroll down to read more!

Q:     Are most plea bargains made before the prelim, during, or after?  I am doing a research paper for Marshall High School and I thought this is the perfect website to get some answers. My question is when a defendant is charged or accused of a crime, how do their defense attorneys make a plea bargain with the prosecutor? Does a good experienced defense attorney already have a deal in place before the preliminary hearing for charge or is it usually done at the day of?
A:     Chosen as “Best Answer” by Asker on
Answered AVVO is a forum for folks with real world legal issues to seek guidance and generic advise; it is not a discussion panel, a legal research mechanism or a study tool (although I suppose that you could use some of what you read here as you would any other “source”…).

Still, I will humor you for a few moments before MNF begins (I’m feeling particularly charitable)…

Defense lawyers (at least this one) do not go into a case seeking a plea bargain. We go into a case seeking to find a mechanism (any mechanism, whether factual, legal, procedural, substantive… it matters not) by which to attack and to beat the case / charges.

That said a smart defense lawyer will never close her/his mind to the possibility of a plea bargain (and in fact most criminal cases are resolved by negotiation), but, as with anything, your best deals will come when you are bargaining from a position of power.

Going into it right out of the gate and at the stage of a preliminary hearing, you probably don’t know enough about a given case or the possible defense or potential mitigating factors for the client to intelligently (or, insofar as the lawyer is concerned, “effectively”) enter into a plea bargain.  This does not mean that some percentage of cases won’t plea quickly (they will – in fact many client;s will be better off with a quick plea), but it does mean that that is not the ideal, nor is it the gold standard of defense litigation.

Experience proves that even if you have a case that is a proverbial dog with fleas (a turd, a dead duck) a quick plea may not be the best resolution. Why? Because there is only one certainty in criminal court and that is that anything can happen. Witness forget, die, have accidents, move, fail to appear… Evidence dissipates, gets lost… Files get displaced, misplaced, lost in the mix… Speedy Trial time continues to tick… In short sometimes you simply get lucky (and this applies equally to the possibility getting a great defense oriented jury which simply refuses to ever agree with the government – take a look at the concept known as “jury nullification”).

In criminal court, just like in the NFL on any given Sunday (Monday in Court), the worst case (team) can win and the best case (team) can lose.

So, “When a defendant is charged or accused of a crime, how do their defense attorneys make a plea bargain with the prosecutor? Does a good experienced defense attorney already have a deal in place before the preliminary hearing for charge or is it usually done at the day of?”…

It depends. My mantra:  Never foreclose any possibility, never close your eyes and ears to any reasonable offer and never go into a case with your mind set and game plan case in concrete.  Criminal cases are fluid.  It’s okay to have a plan (in fact it’s necessary), just don;t be married to it (i.e. keep an open mind as things tend to change, usually quickly and unexpectedly).

Each case is unique and many a plea is taken while the jury is outside of the courtroom.

Wishing you luck with your assignment and hoping that I have been helpful in answering your question.

(Btw – Consider sending / emailing me a copy of the completed paper. I’d like to read it. You can contact me through AVVO.)

First, second and third: No attorney-client relationship exists by virtue of any Q&A with Michael A. Haber, Esq. on Avvo. Fourth: Anything that you post on Avvo (or on similar sites) or on any social media is by its nature public. It is essentially an admission / confession and can be introduced into evidence as a statement against your interest in a subsequent legal proceeding. Once posted you lose any reasonable expectation of privacy, so, as this is an open forum (with no privilege attached), please be extra careful when considering what to post online (forewarned is forearmed.) less

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Posted about 5 hours ago.
You sir are awesome and what an interesting MNF game. Redskins fan here and we totally blew the game! I will definitely send you a copy of my paper once its completed. Thank you kind sir!
Michael Adam Haber
Michael Adam Haber, Criminal Defense Attorney – Miami, FL
Posted less than a minute ago.
You’re most welcome. Good luck and thanks for both the props and the +++ feedback!
For more than 23 years Michael A. Haber, P.A. has been providing creative, effective and zealous advocacy and counsel in cases ranging from DUI to drug trafficking and from misdemeanors to first degree murder.  

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. “Its all about reasonable doubt”!

Michael A. Haber, Esq. is prepared to speak with you about your case!

Cell: 305-798-2220; Office: 305-381-8686; Toll Free: 1-888-SHARK-8-1


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Michael A. Haber

At Michael A. Haber, P.A. "it's all about reasonable doubt"! Whether in State or Federal Courts, Michael A. Haber, P.A. strives to ensure that his client's rights are respected and that his clients receive top-tier legal representation and counsel. For more than a quarter of a century I have striven to make Michael A. Haber, P.A. a business that custom tailors its services to meet the needs of the client. This incorporates such things as (but is not limited to) doing my best to meet clients at their convenience (as opposed to mine), in locations and at times which are mutually convenient (sometimes at their homes, places of business, independent ground - having free wifi and excellent coffee any Dunkin Donuts always works for me - and occasionally even at odd hours), structuring fees to reasonably accommodate the parties, making myself personally available to the client as close to 24/7 as is possible and, perhaps most importantly, giving careful and comprehensive consideration to both micro and macro issues in a given case so as to be able to agree upon and effort toward a viable litigation objective. This is why I refer to Michael A. Haber, P.A. proudly providing "boutique criminal defense litigation" (being "a small company that offers highly specialized services"), and this is a large part of Michael A. Haber, P.A.'s mission statement Accordingly, Michael A. Haber, P.A. has provided personalized and boutique legal services to both individuals and entities, primarily in the South Florida area, since 1991. With no history of professional discipline whatsoever, Michael A. Haber, Esq. zealously advocates his client's interests and custom tailors his services to meet each client's particular situation, needs and desires. Toward that end Michael A. Haber, Esq. makes himself directly available to his clients whether in person, over the phone (305-381-8686 or Toll Free 1-888-SHARK-8-1), by cell, verbally or text (305-798-2220), by e-mail ([email protected]) on Facebook ( ), on Twittter, (@Sharkjy910) on AOL/IM (Sharky910), and also why I consistently add information to the public on both the Michael A. Haber, P.A. Criminal Michael A Haber PA Criminal DUI Defense Litigation Miami Blog ( and with my "Webisode" series on YouTube (, whcih currently features 222 briegf VideoFAQ's on a variety of Criminal Defense, DUI and BUI related topics. When you hire Michael A. Haber, P.A. you get Michael A. Haber, Esq.! And remember, at HaberPA, it's all about reasonable doubt!
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  • positive review  Top notch, very skilled, and highly attentive. Mr. Haber is a fantastic criminal defense attorney.

    DrNetta Shaked Avatar DrNetta Shaked
    July 26, 2017
  • positive review  Thanks again. You are second to none when it comes to defending your clients. For that, I thank you

    Leo Gonzalez Avatar Leo Gonzalez
    April 10, 2017
  • Excellence in criminal defense. Very informative And upfront of wiyh your crimanal defense

    Chiko Sarri Avatar Chiko Sarri
    April 11, 2016
  • positive review  Michael is the person to call when you need help or advice! He understands.

    Lloyd Goradesky Avatar Lloyd Goradesky
    January 11, 2014
  • positive review  Outstanding legal scholar!

    Aj Daoud Avatar Aj Daoud
    December 21, 2013
  • positive review  Michael has helped my family and I on a few occasions and the results were excellent, he represents his clients with the utmost respect and professionalism.

    David Schindler Avatar David Schindler
    August 12, 2013
  • positive review  ABSOLUTELY Michael. Your my second favorite Lawyer behind my cousins Law firm in Brooklyn. The Berkman Law Firm.

    Andrew Scott Wasserman Avatar Andrew Scott Wasserman
    August 11, 2013
  • positive review  Interesting and Informative

    Debbie Molinaro Avatar Debbie Molinaro
    July 20, 2013



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