Plea bargaining refers to negotiation between an accused person and the prosecution where the accused or defendant pleads guilty to an offense for a lighter or lenient sentence. A lighter sentence could mean a positive recommendation, a lighter charge, or dismissal of the case. Plea bargaining proponents claim that the process speeds up justice because a case is resolved before trial and guarantees convictions. On the other hand, opponents claim that plea bargains hinder the serving of justice.
A big percentage of criminal actions in the U.S involve plea bargaining because it eliminates the hassles that come with a court trial. Plea bargains are either explicit or implicit; an explicit plea specifies the consequences of pleading while an implicit plea provides no guarantee. If you’re facing criminal charges and you think plea bargaining would be a great solution for your situation, you can consult criminal lawyers in Toronto.
Types of Plea Bargains
You should have a session with an experienced attorney before entering into a plea bargain. The attorney will evaluate your case and recommend an ideal legal option, depending on your situation. Plea bargains in state and federal courts are handled differently. The judicial system is open to plea bargains for various reasons, such as:
- Plea bargains save time and money;
- Allows courts to handle other cases.
- Helps prosecutors avoid backlog, they are also usually in search of ways to expedite
- Speeds up the justice system.
The types of plea bargains include:
Charge bargaining is arguably the most popular form of plea bargaining because the defendant is allowed to plead to a lesser offense than what they were charged for.
For instance, in a murder case, the prosecution can consider a plea bargain by dropping the murder charge for manslaughter. Manslaughter results in death but it’s not a premeditated act hence, a lighter sentence. Murders are premediated and attract stiff penalties.
Count bargaining is where defendants plead guilty to one charge and the remaining charges or charges are dropped by the prosecution, or the defendant pleads guilty to a less serious crime. For example, Andrew is charged with burglary but pleads guilty to trespass. In this case, the prosecution will dismiss the burglary charge for trespass. In example two, Andrew faces murder and assault charges. A plea bargain can be entered into where the murder charge can be dismissed if Andrew pleads guilty to assault.
In sentence bargaining, the defendant pleads guilty to a crime or takes a “no contest plea” when the defendant is guaranteed a lighter sentence than what they would have gotten if the case went to trial. For example, the defendant can plead guilty to assault to evade imprisonment, for fear of losing their job. Another person can decide to plead guilty to a misdemeanor and the prosecution will request the judge not to imprison them.
Fact bargaining is not popular with many judges and they won’t consider applying it. The prosecution agrees to omit “serious facts’ from a case if the defendant pleads guilty to a crime to avoid mandatory minimum sentences. For example, the defendant can plead guilty to marijuana trafficking on the condition that the quantity of marijuana in question will be reduced such as to avoid triggering a mandatory minimum sentence.
Benefits of plea bargaining
- Plea bargains provide a win-win scenario and benefit the three parties: the jury, prosecution, and the defense.
- Plea bargains are ideal where the evidence against the defendant is questionable;
- Plea bargaining saves time and money;
- Plea bargains increase conviction rates because the defendant must plead guilty to a certain offense.
- A plea bargain can encourage an accused to testify against a co-accused.
- Plea bargains eliminate trials which can be time-consuming and costly.
- Plea bargains ensure defendants who might have been acquitted on technicalities receive some punishment;
- Plea bargains promote judicial efficiency;
- Plea bargains provide easier legal options to defendants;
- Plea bargains shield defendants from public exposure;
Attributes of Reliable Attorneys
As it’s always said, the legal impacts the outcome of a case significantly hence, selecting an attorney should be done with a lot of care. However, it doesn’t have to be complicated, the following can help when considering the qualities of a reliable attorney:
Watch out how an attorney interacts with others to decide whether they’re worth of your consideration. Ensure your attorney is articulate before hiring them and end up losing the case.
Most cases require the services of experienced legal professionals to succeed. Attorneys who have specialized in a certain area of practice are considered more efficient than general attorneys.
If you’re facing criminal charges, a plea bargain could be a great solution for your situation. However, you should consult a criminal lawyer for guidance.
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