Plea Bargains


The plea bargain is any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor.

A defendant is a person or entity accused of a crime in criminal prosecution or a person or entity against whom some type of civil relief is being sought in a civil case.

The prosecutor is the chief legal representative of the prosecution in countries with either the common law adversarial system, or the civil law inquisitorial system.

In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system.

What is a plea agreement? by USLawEssentials


This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of the several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.

Due Process - Let's Make a Deal: The Plea Bargain (Aired 12/9/12) by DueProcessTV


A plea bargain allows both parties to avoid a lengthy criminal trial and may allow criminal defendants to avoid the risk of conviction at trial on a more serious charge.


For example, in the U.S. legal system, a criminal defendant charged with a felony theft charge, the conviction of which would require imprisonment in state prison, may be offered the opportunity to plead guilty to a misdemeanor theft charge, which may not carry a custodial sentence.

A custodial sentence is a judicial sentence, imposing a punishment consisting of mandatory custody of the convict, either in prison or in some other closed therapeutic and/or educational institution, such as a reformatory, psychiatry or drug detoxification.


In cases such as an automobile collision when there is a potential for civil liability against the defendant, the defendant may agree to plead no contest or "guilty with a civil reservation", which essentially is a guilty plea without admitting civil liability.


Plea bargaining can present a dilemma to defense attorneys, in that they must choose between vigorously seeking a good deal for their present client, or maintaining a good relationship with the prosecutor for the sake of helping future clients.

A lawyer is a person who practices law, as an advocate, barrister, attorney, counselor or solicitor or chartered legal executive.


In charge bargaining, defendants plead guilty to a less serious crime than the original charge.


In count bargaining, they plead guilty to a subset of multiple original charges.


In sentence bargaining, they plead guilty agreeing in advance what sentence will be given; however, this sentence can still be denied by the judge.


In fact bargaining, defendants plead guilty but the prosecutor agrees to stipulate certain facts that will affect how the defendant is punished under the sentencing guidelines.

Fact bargaining is a type of plea bargaining that occurs when prosecutors and defendants bargain over what version of events should be stipulated to by the parties and presented to the court as what happened.

Sentencing guidelines are non-binding guidelines that inform sentencing in law.

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