Plea Bargains in Criminal Cases

The great majority of criminal cases are settled before trial through a plea bargain. A plea bargain is when a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a charge that is generally less serious than the one for which they would face trial. A defendant might do this for a variety of reasons. A plea bargain is a deal between a defendant and a prosecution in which the defendant decides to plead guilty or “no objection” in return for the prosecutor dropping one or more charges, reducing a charge to a less serious offense, or recommending a specific sentence acceptable to the defense to the judge.

When are plea bargains negotiated?

For most jurisdictions and courthouses, plea bargaining can take place at practically any stage of the criminal justice process. Plea agreements can be negotiated quickly after an arrest and then before criminal charges are pressed. Plea bargaining may result in an agreement when a jury comes to court to deliver its verdict. The prosecution and defence may strike a deal to avoid a second trial if a trial results in a hung jury, which implies the jurors are divided and are unable to form a unanimous judgement.

Types of Plea bargains:

Charge Bargaining

When a prosecutor offers to decrease one or more significant charges in exchange for a plea to a lesser charge, this is known as charge bargaining. Instead of pleading guilty to drug possession with the intent to distribute, the defendant might plead guilty to ordinary drug possession. Charge bargaining can also occur when the prosecution promises the defendant that the charges will be dropped if he or she meets specific requirements.

Count Bargaining

Count bargaining is when a defendant pleads guilty to only a few counts of an indictment in exchange for the prosecution agreeing to dismiss the rest. In return for pleading guilty to some of the already-charged acts, the prosecutor may promise not to add further counts to the original complaint or file a new case (based on other actions engaged in by the defendant).

Sentence Bargaining’

In sentence negotiation, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for a predetermined sentence. In this case, the prosecution may propose three years of probation with no jail time in exchange for the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to the first two counts of the complaint. Concerned about the risk of spending time in prison, this defendant accepts the offer of probation in exchange for a guilty plea to the two offenses asked.

Fact Bargaining

The prosecutor accepts (stipulates) that specific facts in the criminal complaint contributed to the conviction. If the accusation had been based on different facts, the mandatory sentence may have been necessary. When it comes to drug possession or DUI, fact bargaining is often.

Having solid working relationships with opposing lawyers, judges, and clients is essential for successful plea negotiations. It also entails knowing the law, being familiar with local court regulations, and being aware of the dangers of going to trial. If you are facing criminal accusations, you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon as feasible. Negotiation abilities can have an impact on the result of your case.

Consult the expert criminal lawyers at Autrey Law Firm in case you find yourself on the wrong side of law in a criminal lawsuit.