A plea bargain is a common part of most criminal cases. Basically, this is an arrangement between the prosecutor and the defendant during a criminal trial where the accused person agrees to plead guilty to the original charge or a lesser charge in exchange for a lighter sentence.
When you have been charged with a criminal offense, there are a number of factors you should consider while defending yourself. Depending on the severity of the offense and the amount of evidence against you, accepting a plea bargain may make perfect sense. However, before deciding whether or not you should take this route, it is important to understand which plea bargain best applies to your case.
Here are the common types of plea bargains available:
This is probably the most common type of plea bargain. Charge bargaining happens when the defendant accepts to be charged with a less serious offense than what they were originally accused of committing. For instance, if you have been charged with murder, which carries a more serious punishment if you are convicted, the prosecution may offer to drop the murder charge if you are ready to plead guilty for manslaughter.
As the name suggests, sentence bargaining happens if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the crime they have been charged with in exchange for a lesser sentence. Before offering this type of bargain, the prosecution must consider whether the offered sentence is acceptable in law and whether the judge will agree to it. The judge may reject a sentence bargain deal if they believe the sentence is too lenient.
This is a rarer form of plea bargaining. Here, the prosecution agrees not to disclose certain facts of the case into the official court proceeding in exchange for the defendant agreeing to certain facts of the crime they are facing. Sometimes this can benefit the defense by keeping the focus off something relatively unimportant but potentially prejudicial. For example, you may agree to stipulate that you were in the area where a shooting occurred because you were buying drugs to avoid dwelling on that issue in court.
Plea bargaining is used in a criminal trial for a number of reasons. Before accepting any plea bargain offer, it is important to understand how the deal will affect your case in the long run.