Just because the police have detained you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the end of the world. There is always a way out, and there’s always a way to avoid legal trouble. Other than opting for bail bond services, a plea bargain agreement is a completely viable option.
Here’s how it works:
What is a plea bargain?
A plea bargain is a legal agreement between the prosecutor and a defendant. Under the terms of this agreement, the defendant agrees to sign a ‘no contest.’ In other words, the defendant agrees to ‘plead guilty.’ In exchange, the prosecutor also promises to drop certain charges against the defendant.
The prosecutor usually has two options to choose from. They either drop a charge or two or recommend that the judge reduce the charges to something less serious, leading to a lighter sentence. As a result, the defendant no longer has to go through a lengthy trial process. The defendant may even be able to avoid a conviction altogether.
What are the different types of plea bargains?
There are three different forms of plea bargains:
- Charge bargaining: This is an agreement whereby the defendant pleads guilty to a less serious crime compared to what they were originally accused of.
- Sentence bargaining: Under this agreement, the defendant pleads guilty, being fully aware of the charges that will be given by the court in return.
- Court bargaining: Under this agreement, the defendant pleads guilty for a lesser number of charges.
How does plea bargain work?
When we say ‘no contest,’ it means that the defendant opts not to contest any charges against them. This is not the same as a guilty plea. A guilty plea works as evidence that the defendant admitted their guilt. On the other hand, a no-contest plea can’t be used against the defendant as evidence of guilt in the court.
However, both plea bargains and guilty pleas result in a criminal conviction. A plea bargain agreement can be signed at any step of the criminal justice process. It is advisable to negotiate it before the commencement of the trial. This is because the whole point of a plea bargain is to avoid the hassle of going through a trial.
Many times, an agreement is signed after two parties have taken the case through trial and are unable to reach consensus. This helps them save up on time and expenses associated with a second trial.