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How plea bargains impact defendants

A plea bargain may be offered in a case to avoid Wisconsin courts from being too crowded and prosecutors to focus on the important cases. It also allows defendants to save time and money defending themselves. There are three main types of plea bargains commonly offered to defendants. Charge bargaining occurs when a defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more serious charge being dropped. For instance, an individual may enter a guilty plea on a manslaughter charge to avoid a possible conviction for murder.

Sentence bargaining occurs when an individual pleads guilty to a charge in exchange for less incarceration or penalties that are less than called for under the law. This does not happen often as any such agreement would need to be looked at by a judge and may not be allowed in a given jurisdiction.

Fact bargains take place when a defendant will admit to certain facts in a case to avoid others being introduced at some point in a case. Most courts will not allow such a bargain to take place, and attorneys don't like them as a general rule. Therefore, it is the least used type of bargain in the judicial system.

Those who are facing criminal allegations may want to consider consulting with an attorney. While the possibility of negotiating some form of bargain with the prosecutor might exist, in some cases the defendant may want to plead not guilty. Although the attorney may have an opinion on the matter, the choice as to whether or not to accept a plea agreement ultimately rests with the defendant.

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