What is a plea deal?

| Jan 9, 2020 | Criminal Defense

Being accused of a crime can be a challenging situation. For starters, the accused may not fully understand the charges that they are faced with. And with that, there are penalties that could result if a conviction occurs. Thus, the accused should be aware of their defense options. While this could mean going to trial and asserting a strong criminal defense, it could also mean other alternative methods to help one avoid harsh criminal penalties.

What is a plea deal? Regardless if a criminal defendant wants to take a plea deal or not, most proceedings involve a plea deal. This could result in plea-bargaining, which could help the accused reach agreeable terms and avoid going through the criminal trial. A plea deal can benefit both the defendant and the prosecution. For example, it could result in no incarceration for a defendant and time saved by the prosecution for not having to go to trial.

There are three areas of negotiation when it comes to plea-bargaining. The first is charge bargaining. This is the most commonly used plea deal, as it involves the negotiation of the specific criminal charges. A plea deal could look like a defendant pleading guilty for lesser charges. The next is sentence bargaining. This involves a lighter sentence for the charges versus seeking to have the charges reduced.

The final area is fact bargaining. This is the least used negotiation during a plea deal. This involves an admission to certain facts through a stipulation that asserts to their truth and existence and provable facts. This eliminates the need for the prosecutor to prove them and, in return for this, agrees to not introduce other certain facts into evidence.

Whether one works through criminal allegations during litigation, negotiation or any other defense action, it is importation that one fully explores the options available to them. A legal profession could help one understand this and how best to protect their rights as they pursue a criminal defense. And in cases where a plea negotiation is reached, a legal professional can help ensure this is the best option available to the accused.