The Pros And Cons Of Plea Bargaining

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The Pros and Cons of Plea Bargaining Disclaimer By: LawInfo When faced with criminal charges, a defendant often has one simple goal. That is, to minimize the potential penalty. Of course, being found innocent at trial, and being aquitted, is the best way to avoid jail time and other penalties. However, going to trial can be risky because it is impossible to predict what a jury will decide. Therefore, many defendants choose to enter a plea bargain agreement with the prosecution. What is Plea Bargaining? A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecutor and the defendant in a criminal case. The prosecutor gives the defendant the opportunity to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to the original charge with less than the maximum sentence. For example, the prosecution and the defense may agree to a misdemeanor charge instead of a felony charge or the parties may agree to a sentence of 12 years instead of 20 years if the recommended sentence for that crime is 10-20 years imprisonment. …show more content…

Both sides will carefully weigh the strength of their case and decide whether it is prudent to go to trial. The prosecution may also consider the publicity surrounding the case and whether there is public pressure to prosecute that particular defendant to the full extent of the law. The defense will consider the individual defendant’s desire to go to trial and the seriousness of the potential sentence. The Pros of Plea Bargaining For the defendant, the most significant benefit to plea bargaining is to take away the uncertainty of a criminal trial and to avoid the maximum sentence. Society also benefits from plea bargaining since the agreements lessen court congestion and free up prosecutors to handle more cases. The Cons of Plea

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