A plea bargain is an agreement between the prosecution and the defense
whereby the defense agrees to plead guilty to some variation of the charges
against them in exchange for a lighter sentence and other concessions
from the prosecution. A plea bargain is intended to allow the defendant
and expedited trial process while reducing the number of cases that judges
Why a Plea Bargain Benefits the Defendant
Plea bargains are controversial since some argue that criminal defendants
are not fully held accountable for their crimes. Others feel that criminal
rights are infringed upon when the accused waives their Fifth and Sixth
Amendment rights in exchange for reduced penalties.
Knowing that their Constitutional rights may be impaired, why should the
accused accept a plea bargain? Some reasons include:
- Reduced expenses on attorney's fees and court costs
- Minimizing penalties an individual could face
- Avoiding the publicity that a trial brings
- Reducing the time that is spent trying the crime
- Protecting one's criminal record from the original charges
The only way that someone is able to accept a plea bargain is if they do
so voluntarily and have full knowledge of the consequences that may arise
from a guilty plea.
A plea bargain does not provide nearly the same benefits to the prosecution
that it does the criminally accused. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to
negotiate a favorable plea bargain for the accused and work with the prosecution
to move through the criminal system quickly and efficiently.