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Plea Bargaining | Criminal Defense

How Does Plea Bargaining Work | Criminal Defense

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What is meant by the Phrase Plea Bargain?

This refers to a package that is presented by the prosecution to could lure a defendant into entering a guilty plea. Think of it this way, if every case in the legal system went to trial, the courts could not possibly process each and every one of them. A plea bargain’s goal is for the prosecution to nail down a guilty plea without having to proceed with the case any further.


Are There Different Kinds of Plea Bargains?

Charge bargain. This is when the defendant agrees to enter a guilty plea on a charge less serious than the crime he or she has been cited with. Or it can also apply when the defendant possesses multiple charges and some are dismissed.

Sentence bargain. In this scenario, a defendant immediately knows what restitution he or she must engage in when they enter a guilty plea. In many areas, this method is inherently restricted, but it can happen in very public cases, where the prosecution is pleased with a guilty plea on the largest charge and allows the defendant to not serve time on other minor charges.


Can You Rescind On a Plea Bargain?

When the defendant and prosecution enter in such an agreement, they are establishing a contract. If a person has entered into this contract by agreeing to certain conditions and does not comply with the initial agreement, the prosecutor can and will withdraw the arrangement if the defendant does not complete what was outlined.


Can A Prosecutor Not Satisfy Their End of the Bargain?

If this happens, the defendant can go to a judge and inquire about rescinding the plea agreement. An example where this would occur is if a prosecutor agrees to not incorporate more charges and does so anyway.


How Do I Make Sure All the Details of Deal Are Implemented?

This should be a matter of record as soon as a defendant agrees to a deal. On occasion, this may be only in written form and then each side affixes their signature to the document. It is usually substantive enough to refer to this document without having to entirely restate all the language and conditions included within it.

When a defendant is sentenced, he or she will be asked about the specifics of their case and if any particular circumstances apply other than the arrangement in writing. If a defendant replies only the plea agreement applies and that contract is not introduced into the record of the case, that defendant may have no means to enforce the agreement.

In very few cases, the plea is not required to be placed in its entirety in the record. There are occasions the legal representation and judge will iron out the details privately without wanting to place the specifics in a public forum. Bear in mind, however, a defendant should always be highly cognizant of having their plea entered into the record and should be quite clear with their lawyer on how that will be accomplished.


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