No matter the nature of the crimes the courts are charging you with, it is almost a guarantee that plea bargaining will be a part of your tenure in the criminal justice system. Of course, whether it is a good idea or not to take a plea bargain depends on your particular case.
However, it is highly likely that the prosecution will at least bring up the possibility of a plea bargain. Usually, plea bargains benefit both the prosecution and the defense, which is why they are so common. To this end, there are three main areas of negotiation concerning plea bargains: sentence bargaining, charge bargaining and fact bargaining.
Which is the most common?
Charge bargaining is the most common and the most famous variety of plea bargain. With a charge bargain, the defendant willingly pleads guilty to a less-serious charge. In return, the prosecution drops the more serious charges. A common example would be a defendant pleading guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid a murder charge.
Sentence bargaining is also very common. Sentence bargaining is essentially the same thing as charge bargaining except for the charge itself does not change. In this case, the defendant willingly pleads guilty to murder but receives a lesser sentence in exchange for his or her cooperation.
What is fact bargaining?
Fact bargaining is very rare and not all courts allow this. With fact bargaining, the defendant agrees to admit to certain pieces of evidence in return for the prosecution’s agreement to not release certain other facts to the jury. Again, charge bargaining and sentence bargaining are much more common, and it is wise to consider council before accepting any sort of plea bargain.