Criminal Defense

What is a Plea Bargain?

Gregory Salnick
December 3, 2021

In this blog post, we will discuss what a plea bargain is, how a plea deal works, and the benefits of a plea bargain.

Many criminal cases in the United States do not end with a trial in court but with a plea bargain. This is a consensus between the defendant and prosecutor, where the prosecutor offers a deal to the defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence.

A plea bargain allows the prosecutor to save resources and time to focus on other cases. It is also a common way that prosecutors reduce the case backlogs in courts. Typical criminal proceedings can take months, while you can arrange a guilty plea within a few days.

How A Plea Deal Works

No matter how certain you are about your innocence, going to trial can be risky. In most cases, a jury has the right to use their discretion to determine your guilt or innocence based on the evidence presented in court. Despite having legal representation, it is not easy to control the jury’s prejudices and preconceptions. 

Most criminal cases are resolved using plea bargains since many defendants want to avoid a jury’s trial. Some of the most common plea bargain types include:

  • Fact bargaining-  The accused person accepts the plea bargaining deal to keep several damaging facts away from the court. This is common when the defendant wants to protect their reputation.
  • Sentence bargaining- Sentence bargaining involves low-level crimes where the defendant pleads guilty for the prosecutor to offer a reduced sentence.
  • Charge bargaining-  The defendant pleads guilty to get reduced charges.
  • Count bargaining-  A defendant with multiple charges agrees to plead guilty to some of them for other counts to be dropped or dismissed.

Benefits of a Plea Bargain

  • If your case goes to trial, you’re unsure whether you will get the maximum or reduced sentencing. You can negotiate for reduced sentencing in plea agreements and avoid the anxiety involved in a court process.
  • Plea bargains allow the defendant to have reduced sentencing since the severity of the charge is also reduced.
  • Plea bargains allow you to settle the case more quickly. Although the results may not turn out as you expected, a plea bargain helps you move on with your life. A plea bargain also eliminates the hassle of spending your time and expenses during the lengthy court process.
  • Defendants can avoid publicity and the social stigma attached to some crimes. For example, you can negotiate to drop a rape charge in favor of a less tainting offense like assault.

Do you Need Legal Representation When Taking a Plea Bargain? We Can Help

Criminal convictions may result in lifetime consequences. Remember that you only have one chance to reduce the impact of your charges. It’s essential to have an aggressive attorney to safeguard your rights.

At The Law Offices of Salnick & Fuchs, we have fearless West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys to offer the best assistance for your case. Please contact us online or call us at 461-571-1000 to get professional legal assistance.

Gregory Salnick

Mr. Salnick is a Florida Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. He began his legal career at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where he prosecuted over 90 jury trials, ranging from DUI to murder, armed robbery and drug trafficking. Mr. Salnick quickly gained a reputation as a tenacious and ethical attorney at law. Mr. Salnick now serves as state and federal criminal defense attorney at Salnick & Fuchs, P. A.

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