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What Are Plea Bargains?

When an accused party admits to the charges brought up against him or her in order to receive a less severe sentencing, it is said that the accused party is taking a plea bargain from the prosecution.

During court cases, it may be possible that the accused party may be found guilty due to the conclusive evidence provided for by the prosecution or the plaintiff may lack evidence to ensure a guilty conviction. In such instances, a plea bargain is an opportunity offered by the prosecution to the defendant to admit to certain charges and have a reduced sentence. These opportunities are usually guarantees from the prosecution that both parties agree to.

There are 3 different kinds of plea-bargaining that exist within the legal system. The most common is charge bargaining wherein the defendant will admit guilt to less major offenses committed as negotiated between the defense and prosecution. The prosecution will guarantee that the accused will only be tried for specified charges ensuring a particular sentencing from the judge. Sentence bargaining is the second form of plea-bargaining and involves a reduced sentence if the defendant admits guilt to all the charges brought up against him or her. This is usually done to avoid actual court trial. The least commonly used plea bargain is fact bargaining wherein certain facts are admitted to by the party and the prosecution guarantees not to introduce other facts as evidence.

A defendant usually considers a plea bargain if a verdict of not guilty cannot be delivered by the defense.

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