Plea-bargaining involves a situation where cases are resolved out of court by having both parties reach an agreement. The process is also called plea negotiating.
Plea bargaining is preferred for the following reasons.
- The accused can avoid the cost and time of defending themselves during trial, risk of harsher penalty and the publicity involved in the court proceedings.
- Both parties, the accused and victims are saved the uncertainty of the results from going to trial.
- The court of law is spared the load of conducting a trial on every single trial charged.
Types of plea bargaining
- The guilty party pleads guilty on one charge and the rest charges are dropped.
- The prosecutor recommends a particular penalty considering the accused guilty plea.
- Negotiation in which the accused pleads guilty to a lesser crime.
- Plea negotiation is fundamentally a private procedure but lately, this is changing as nowadays victims are becoming aware of their rights. Victims do have a say in the plea bargaining process.
Going to trial
This is whereby a party decides to take the case to a court of law. A trial can be an engagement, a battle and there are formal rules and procedures to be adhered to. The court procedure is long and is draining from all sides. Your physical, financial and even emotion resources are involved. There are commonly two occasions when defendants take a case to trial;
- When the accused is innocent and the prosecutor is not willing to dismiss the charges against them or when the judge rejects the request for dismissal.
- When the prosecutor is not offering a plea negotiating at all.
For instance, an opportunity for a plea bargain or trial is not available in harsh cases that make headlines in the newspapers and the prosecution wants to use the defendant as an example. Like in case of murdering your wife or husband from domestic fights, it is unlikely to be bargained by the prosecutor. Here, there is no chance for a plea negotiation. The accused should go to trial unless they want to surrender the fight and plead guilty as convicted.