The Ins and Outs of Plea Bargaining

Topics: Criminal law, Crime, Plea Pages: 4 (1298 words) Published: June 30, 2013
The Ins and Outs of Plea Bargaining
Alisha Holt
CJA224
June 8, 2013
Peter Helfer

The Ins and Outs of Plea Bargaining
Introduction
The concept of plea bargaining became a common means to resolve criminal cases in the early 1900s because not everyone that was accused of a crime had a lawyer to represent them in a trial. As the criminal justice system evolved, and there were more and more cases to prosecute, plea-bargaining was used more often so that all parties would have a faster resolution to the case, as opposed to going through a lengthy trial. The definition of plea bargaining is “the process whereby the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal case work out a mutually satisfactory disposition of the case subject to court approval [that] usually involves the defendant’s pleading guilty to a lesser offense or to only some of the counts of a multicounty indictment in return for a lighter sentence than the possible for the graver charge.” (Siegel, Schmalleger, & Worrall, 2011, Chapter 12, Plea Bargaining and Guilty Pleas). Types of Plea Bargains

When it comes to plea bargaining, there are two different types that can be offered to the defendant by the prosecutor: sentence bargaining and charge bargaining. Sentence bargaining is when the accused is informed of what the sentence will be with a guilty plea and is useful in helping the prosecutor to obtain a conviction by offering the minimum, instead of the maximum sentence for the charge. If the defendant is facing serious charges and does not want to chance receiving a maximum sentence during trial, they may enter a guilty plea in order to serve the least amount of time possible. Charge bargaining is when the prosecutor offers to either charge the accused with a lesser charge, or to reduce the number of charges that have been filed against him/her, in exchange for a guilty plea. For example, if the defendant is charged with a DUI, driving with an expired license, and driving with expired...

References: Larson, A. (2000, March). How Does "Plea Bargaining" Work?. ExpertLaw. Retrieved
from http://www.expertlaw.com/library/criminal/plea_bargains.html
Siegel, L.J., Schmalleger, F., & Worrall, J.L. (2011). Courts and Criminal Justice in America.
Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.
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