Plea bargains are an interesting part of the justice system in the United States. Typically, it means that you’re offered a lesser charge if you decide you will plead guilty to that charge. For instance, you may have been accused of murder, but you could get manslaughter in exchange for a guilty plea.
The courts like these because they simply have so many cases to work through. A plea bargain is fast and simple, and it takes one case out of the mix.
Defendants, in some cases, like plea bargains because they help them get more favorable terms. They’re not for everyone or every case, but they can help you get lesser charges and a lighter sentence. For instance, you may be able to avoid jail time.
But what about prosecutors? Wouldn’t they want to push for strict sentences? Why would they allow a plea bargain?
One of the biggest reasons is that it means that you are absolutely going to get convicted. That’s not a guarantee in a case where you plead not guilty. There are plenty of examples of cases where it appeared that the evidence was stacked against the accused, and then he or she was not convicted. A plea bargain assures that outcome, even if it means lesser charges for the conviction.
Again, these plea bargains are definitely not for everyone, but it is important to really understand all of your legal options when facing criminal charges. You need to know where you stand so that you can weigh all of those options and decide what is best for you in your specific situation.