A plea bargain is an 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. This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge or to one of 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. 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. Charge Bargaining and Sentence Bargaining
Charge bargaining is a form of plea bargaining. Charge bargaining is when the prosecuting attorney has the capability of negotiating with the accused about the charges that may be filed. This allows for the prosecuting attorney to give the defendant the opportunity to “plead guilty” to lesser charges. (Larry J. Siegel, 2011) An example could be if the accused is pulled over for drinking while intoxicated and has a suspended license; the prosecuting attorney may offer the defendant a plea bargain of pleading guilty to the driving while intoxicated and dismissing the charge of driving with a suspended license. Sentence bargaining is another form of plea bargaining. Sentence bargaining comes in to play when the defendant accepts an agreement to pleading guilty in exchange for spending a less amount of time in jail or prison. (Larry J. Siegel, 2011) An example of a sentence bargain could be if an individual is being charged of murder and they have the death penalty in that particular...
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