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What can a plea bargain do for you?

If you decide that a plea bargain is something you want to do in your case, you need to understand the different parts of the charge that you can actually negotiate. First, you have charge bargaining, which involves the negotiation of your charges. Here's an example: If you are charged with first-degree murder, you may defend yourself by saying that you will plead guilty in exchange for a lesser sentence such as one for second-degree murder or manslaughter. What's the point of this? The lesser charges tend to have shorter prison sentences and alternative sentences that you can receive. If there is evidence against you, and possibly enough to sway a jury, this can be a good option.

Fact bargaining is the least used type of negotiation, but it can be highly beneficial if it's used correctly. It works by admitting to certain facts of a case in exchange for the prosecution not introducing other facts into evidence. With this process, the prosecutor no longer has to prove certain facts of the case and you get the certainty of knowing that other evidence for the case won't be brought to court.

Finally, sentence bargaining is when you agree to a guilty plea in exchange for a lighter sentence. Why would the prosecution want to give you a lesser sentence by doing this? It saves time and eliminates the need for going to trial. Pleading guilty essentially gives you a chance for a lighter sentence while helping the prosecution close your case quickly and efficiently, a goal in most courts.

Source: FindLaw, "Plea Bargaining: Areas of Negotiation," accessed Oct. 18, 2016

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