Whether or not accepting a plea bargain is a good idea in your case depends upon your individual situation. However, it is highly likely that a plea bargain will be a part of your journey through the criminal justice system. In many cases, plea bargains benefit both the prosecution and the defense.
There are three different “types” of plea bargains. Formally, the courts call these areas of negotiation and they are “charge,” “sentence” and “fact” bargaining.
What kind of plea bargain is the most common?
You are most likely to get a charge bargain from the prosecution. A charge bargain is when the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in order to skip a trial and potentially receive a higher charge from a jury. A common example of this would be a defendant pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge in order to not go to trial for a murder charge.
Sentence bargaining is also quite common and is similar to charge bargaining. The only difference in a sentence bargain is that the actual charge itself does not change. So in this instance, the defendant would agree to plead guilty to a murder charge in exchange for a lighter sentence.
What is a fact bargain?
Fact bargaining is not at all common, and some courts do not allow it. In fact bargaining, the defendant agrees to admit to specific facts in the prosecution’s case. This makes the prosecution’s job easier since they will not have to prove those facts to the jury. In return, the prosecution does not admit other facts into evidence. Again, fact bargaining is very rare.