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April 26, 2017

Plea Bargains and How They Work

Filed under: Criminal Trial Process — admin @ 11:00 am

Scale and GavelEvery case has strengths and weaknesses attached to it and in the United States, our carefully crafted, meticulously designed legal system accounts for strengths and weaknesses in all cases. Criminal lawyers in Arizona will work together to come to an agreement in some, if not most court cases, resulting in some degree of a plea bargain.


In fact, 90% of criminal cases end up in some variation of a plea bargain depending on the circumstances of the specific case.  The American legal system uses plea bargains for many reasons, but most commonly, a plea bargain is enacted to allow two parties to abide by a set of regulations in order to hold one or both parties in a case accountable for action. Often the defense attorney works with the prosecuting attorney to encourage the defendant to plead guilty in order to move a case toward a resolution and often a lesser sentence.

How does a plea bargain work?

 The definition of a plea bargain is the negotiation of an agreement between two parties in the court system in order to drop one or more charges or to reduce an offence for a defendant in exchange for him or her to plead guilty to a crime. There are many different classifications of a plea bargain and often they fall into three main categories: charge bargaining, sentence bargaining and fact bargaining.

  1. Charge bargaining: Occurs when the defendant accepts an offer to plead guilty to a less severe charge in exchange for a more severe charge to be dismissed by the lead prosecutor. Charge bargaining is one of the most common forms of plea bargains in the United States.
  2. Sentence bargaining: Fairly uncommon and under much tighter restrictions, a sentence bargain is overseen by a judge in order for the defendant to switch a sentence to a less severe plea charge.
  3. Fact bargaining: Even less common than sentence bargaining is fact bargaining. This plea bargain occurs when a defendant agrees to give a statement containing certain facts pertaining to his or her case. In exchange for information in a statement, the court will exclude some facts from the trial. In the United States, this is very rare and not generally favored by attorneys.

A plea bargain is a contract between the defendant and the prosecuting attorney. Bound by law, if the plea bargain is broken, the case will then go back to court to be revisited, amended or terminated. This applies to the prosecuting attorney just as it is applied to the defendant. Often plea bargains are offered to defendants in order to keep the flow of criminal cases rolling through court, which makes them fairly common.

If you have found yourself in need of representation or are facing criminal charges and are being offered a plea bargain by a prosecutor, contact the Blumenreich Law Firm immediately for representation during your case. We honor our clients by getting the best results for your criminal case. Ease your anxiety knowing we have your back and will fight for a plea bargain that is appropriate and fair for your case. Don’t hesitate, call today!