No matter what crime the courts accuse you of committing, it is likely that plea bargaining will be a part of your criminal proceedings. Whether or not it is a good idea for an individual to take a plea bargain depends on specific situations, but bargaining is almost guaranteed to be part of the process.
Plea bargaining involves three different areas of potential negotiation. According to FindLaw, the three types of negotiating are charge bargaining, fact bargaining and sentence bargaining.
What is charge bargaining?
The most common variety of plea bargain is a charge bargain. With a charge bargain, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to lesser crimes in exchange for the prosecution dismissing more serious charges.
A common example of a charge bargain would be a defendant pleading guilty to assault and battery in order to avoid a greater charge of aggravated assault. Another example would be a defendant pleading guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid murder charges.
What are fact and sentence bargaining?
Fact bargaining is the most uncommon variety. With fact bargaining, the defendant agrees to admit to certain parts of the prosecution’s case in exchange for the prosecution withholding other information. Fact bargaining benefits the prosecution as it means less work for them, and it can benefit the defendant for the prosecution to not release certain details. Again, fact bargaining is comparatively rare.
Sentence bargaining is somewhat similar to charge bargaining. However, with sentence bargaining the actual charge itself does not change. Rather, the defendant agrees to plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence attached to the charge.