A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense during the course of a criminal trial. Oftentimes they involve a person pleading guilty to a lesser charge so they can avoid some of the more serious potential penalties associated with the original charge. Both sides benefit from these deals, as the prosecution gets a “win” without going to court and frees up their case load, while the defendant avoids certain potential penalties.
Plea deals can be negotiated with different facts of the case at the center of the deal. In general, there are three recognized types of plea deals in the United States. We take a closer look at each in today’s blog.
Three Types Of Plea Deals
Here’s a closer look at the three most widely accepted types of plea bargaining in the United States.
Charge Bargaining – Charge bargaining is the most common form of plea bargaining. In this instance, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more serious charge being dropped. For example, we’ve helped negotiate plea deals where the defendant accepted a reckless driving charge instead of the original charge of driving while intoxicated. Reckless driving carries less severe penalties and doesn’t appear as serious on a criminal background check than a DWI.
Sentence Bargaining – Next up is what’s known as sentence bargaining. This type of plea bargain is much less common and more tightly controlled than charge bargaining. In this type of plea, the defendant enters a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence. The judge has final say over whether or not to accept this type of deal, and some jurisdictions don’t even allow them, but they can be used in the right situation.
Fact Bargaining – The least common type of plea deal is fact bargaining. This type of plea involves the defendant agreeing to certain facts in order to get other facts from being introduced in court. Certain courts will not allow fact bargaining, and it’s a rare type of deal because both sides often prefer to argue the facts in court instead of picking and choosing what evidence is agreed on and left out. However they still are an option if a number of facts about the case are murky or disputed.
We’ve won countless cases outright, but we’ve also helped secure favorable plea deals for many of our clients. If you need legal help or want to learn more about your plea options, reach out to Appelman Law Firm today.