Benefits of Plea Bargaining
A plea agreement or plea bargain refers to an agreement made in criminal cases where the defendant is offered the chance, normally to plead guilty to a reduced charge or with a commendation of a much lighter sentence. Plea bargaining offers many benefits and some of them are illustrated below.
1. Avoids conviction
Plea bargaining is one of the methods that a defendant can use if they want to avoid the danger of conviction during trial on the original serious charge. A good example is where a defendant charged with felony theft charges, which normally require imprisonment, may be given the chance of pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges, which carry little or no jail time.
2. Good relationships
The action of seeking a plea bargain fosters good relationships between prosecutors and defense attorneys. In fact, defense attorneys are forced to maintain good relationships with prosecutors with a view to assisting both present and future clients.
3. Prevents civil liability
In certain cases like a vehicle collision where there is an increased likelihood for the defendant acknowledging civil liability, plea bargaining may be of great assistance. Here, the defendant is encouraged to plead guilty with civil reservation or simply no contest. This is basically a good guilty plea as the defendant does not admit civil liability.
4. Quick resolution
The other reason why plea bargaining is popular is that it provides the chance of resolving the case very quickly. Actually, making a plea agreement resolves the matter even more quickly and efficiently than having a very long trial.
5. Benefits prosecutors
Other than ensuring that prosecutors obtain a conviction, plea bargains may be struck to convince the defendants to give evidence against other individuals. This greatly strengthens the prosecutor’s case.
The shortcoming of plea bargaining is that some innocent people may accept plea bargains due to the fear of being imprisoned.