When a person is faced with criminal charges that he is or she has surely committed, he can agree with the prosecutor to plead guilty during the trial in exchange for a shorter jail term or dropping some of the charges accused of. This means that the accused person will agree to all the charges leveled against him in order for him to save time on the trials, following an out of court deal with the prosecutor. The prosecutor can also recommend a certain jail term or fine to the judge, after the deal.
As the police arrest different people on a daily basis, judges and prosecutors get into the pressure to solve different cases daily to create room for more cases to be tried. However, judging a case may take a long period of time even though the offenders will be found guilty in the end. This makes plea bargains a very good solution for judges and prosecutors to easily close a case within a short duration of time as they can be set within minutes or even hours. The pleas bargain also ensures that the prosecutor and the judge look like winners as the accused accepts the fact that he committed a crime. This is as oppose to trials which can take a long time and yet fail to prove that a person is guilty of a crime. The accused person is also able to get better terms even after agreeing that he/she is guilty.
How and when plea bargains are done
Being an off the court settlement of a case, the prosecutor and the accused can discuss the plea from any point that both parties are available or comfortable with. However, these negotiations are mostly done in the prosecutor’s office or even the accused holding station. As for when they are, the prosecutor and the defendant can come to an agreement at any point of the trial. In some cases, the accused can request a plea bargain from the prosecutor even before attending his/her first trial.
In most states, the law allows for the prosecuting and the defendant’s side to come to an agreement at any point of the trials. This means that both sides can come to an agreement while still awaiting the jury’s decision. However, a plea bargain can also be put in place if the jury fails to arrive at a judgment and hence the two sides agree to settle instead of having a trial. The prosecutor can also initiate a plea bargain where a case has been appealed. This is mostly to save time and also avoid the uncertainty of the appeal.
Consequences of a plea bargain to the defendant
As the defendant agrees that he is guilty of the charges leveled against him, the crime committed, therefore, shows in the person’s criminal record. The defendant also risks to go to jail after the plea, depending on the crime committed and also the deal agreed upon with the prosecutor. However, the defendant is able to get mercy from the prosecution side and hence the punishment for his crimes becomes a bit lenient on him.