Plea bargaining is an important aspect of the criminal justice system. As a result, accused individuals should understand plea bargaining so that they can fully understand their options when facing criminal charges. There are different types of plea negotiations so it helps to know what those are as well.
One type of plea bargaining is referred to as charge bargaining and involves negotiation of the specific charges the accused individual is facing. In circumstances of a charge bargain-based plea bargain, the accused individual pleads guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for other, usually more serious, charges being dropped. The other type of plea bargain is sentence bargaining. Sentence bargaining refers to when the accused individual pleads guilty to a criminal charge in exchange for a reduced sentence or recommendation of a reduced sentence to the judge. Fact bargaining is a third type of plea bargaining.
Criminal defense rights are important rights and because plea bargaining requires the waiver of certain rights the accused individual may have, it is important that a plea bargain is entered into knowingly and voluntarily and that there are facts to base their plea on. Though plea bargaining is a common part of the criminal justice system, it should not be treated lightly. Any plea bargain should be carefully considered and entered into with trained guidance and informed understanding.
Plea bargaining results in the accused individual waiving a right to trial and their right to defend themselves which is why it is important for an accused individual to be familiar with their options and which is best for them. A strong criminal defense strategy is one option, while a plea bargain is another, so accused individuals should thoroughly understand their options.