What is a plea bargain?

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2020 | Criminal Law |

If you’re facing criminal charges, you do need to consider all of your options. One option may be to accept or deny a plea bargain if one is offered. What does this bargain mean and why would you want to use it? 

Plea bargains are generally only offered when the prosecution thinks that their case is very strong. They’ll come to you and offer you the bargain to avoid the expense of a trial and the time that it takes. You’re generally offered a more lenient sentence in exchange for admitting guilt and pleading as such. 

For example, maybe you were involved in an event in which someone else passed away. They’re pushing for murder charges, which would get you life in prison. That court case could be extensive, though, and so they may offer you lesser charges — such as a lower degree of murder or manslaughter — if you’ll plead guilty. Then they get to skip the trial and, though you still go to jail, it’s not for life. 

There is an obvious major downside to accepting a plea bargain, though, and it’s that you lose all chance to plead not guilty. Just because the prosecution thinks their case is strong doesn’t mean it is. What if it turns out that some of their evidence was illegally obtained and has to be thrown out of court, for example, meaning you go free? 

What you want to do is up to you. Some people use plea bargains and try for lesser sentences, while others want to go to trial and work to clear their names. Every case is unique. Just remember how important it is to think over all of the options at your disposal while working with an experienced legal team