Plea bargaining basics and what to know about them
The plea bargaining process is an important part of the criminal justice system for any accused individual to understand and be familiar with. Many criminal cases are plea bargained, which is why it is essential that accused individuals understand what plea negotiations entail.
There are different types of plea bargains and there are two types that are most common. One type of plea bargain is “charge bargaining.” Charge bargaining occurs when the accused individual pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for authorities dropping more serious charges. Charge bargaining results in the charges against the accused individual being reduced.
The other common type of plea bargaining is referred to as sentence bargaining. In circumstances of sentence bargaining, the accused individual pleads guilty to a charge in return for a lighter sentence or a request from prosecutors to the judge that the accused individual receive a lighter sentence.
Fact bargaining is the third type of plea bargaining. Plea bargaining requires that the accused individual knowingly and voluntarily waived their rights and that there is a factual basis to support their guilty plea. Because plea bargaining involves the accused individual giving up some of their rights, it is essential to understand. Plea bargaining can result in reduced charges or a lighter sentence, but is only one way to respond to criminal charges the accused individual if facing. For this reason, though plea bargains are common, it is important for accused individuals to be familiar with all of the options available through the criminal justice system, as well as with their rights.