Plea bargains are an important part of the criminal justice system that every accused individual should understand. Plea negotiations are a way that criminal charges are resolved without the need for a trial. There are different types of plea negotiations that it is important for accused individuals to be familiar with when facing criminal charges and evaluating their options to address them.
Charge bargaining is one type of plea bargaining which refers to the accused individual negotiating over the charges they are facing. In this type of plea bargain, the accused individual may plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for the prosecutor dropping other charges. Another type of plea bargaining is sentence bargaining. When sentence bargaining, the accused individual may plead guilty to a charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or sentencing recommendation to the judge. There are additional types of plea bargains it is helpful for accused individuals to also be familiar with.
Plea bargains are serious because they require the waiver of certain criminal defense rights, including the right to a trial. As a result, a plea bargain requires a knowing wavier of rights; that the waiver is voluntary; and that there is a factual basis to support the charges against the accused individual. The decision to plea bargain should be carefully and thoughtfully considered and it is important accused individuals know all their rights.
The criminal justice system provides different options and protections for individuals who have been accused of a crime. To protect those rights and understand their options, it is essential for accused individuals to be familiar with the criminal justice system, including plea bargains and plea bargaining options.