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How Plea Bargaining Works

A plea bargain is a negotiated agreement between the prosecutor and the defense attorney. In this agreement, the accused is advised to plead guilty to receive a reduced punishment. Plea bargain deals also help the prosecution because they save on time and resources and don’t risk a surprise judgment or verdict.

While one primary purpose of a plea bargain is to reduce your prison time upon conviction, the reduced time must be in line with United States Sentencing Guidelines. If you find yourself in a federal court accused of a felony, you will have three main options; you can either plead guilty, not guilty, or nolo contendere.

If you prefer nolo contendere, then it means that you are not willing to defend your case. It must be noted that such a plea is only allowed under approval from the state attorney general’s office. Different types of plea bargain deals that can affect the outcome of your case are:

Types of Plea Bargaining

Charge Bargaining

In charge bargaining pleas, the accused agrees to plead guilty to reduced charges so that they receive a reduced sentence. An example of charge bargaining is when you plead guilty to aggravated assault in order to avoid being charged with attempted murder.
Another example is when the prosecution charges you with burglary, but you plead guilty to trespassing. In this scenario, your burglary charge is dropped.

Sentence Bargaining

In sentence bargaining, you will be required to plead guilty to receive an alternative sentence. A good example of this is when you plead guilty so that the prosecution can recommend a lighter sentence to the judge.

A practical example of sentence bargaining is when you plead guilty to manslaughter so that you are not sentenced for murder.

Count Bargaining

In this type of plea, you will be required to plead to one or more charges in order for other charges to be dropped by the prosecution. An excellent example is when the prosecution charges you with robbery and simple assault. Instead of defending those two charges in court, you can plead guilty to simple assault, and in return, your robbery charge is dropped.

Fact Bargaining

In fact bargaining, you will agree to plead guilty, and in return, the prosecutor will omit some of the facts of your case. These are usually essential facts that can make your conviction more severe. A practical example of this is when you are charged with drug trafficking after being arrested with six kilograms of cocaine.

In this scenario, you can agree to plead guilty to the trafficking charges while the prosecution overlooks that you had six kilograms of cocaine.

Is Plea Bargaining Important?

There are several benefits to this arrangement. The first is that you can negotiate a lighter sentence, which can significantly reduce your time in prison. Another benefit is receiving a reduced charge, making it easier to potentially have your criminal record sealed later.

Get in Touch with a Qualified Defense Attorney

If you are thinking about a plea deal, you have to do it in the presence of a qualified lawyer. You can rest assured that your rights will be protected. You need to understand that reaching an agreement with the prosecutor does not mean it is binding to the court.

Therefore, to ensure that your interests are protected, do not hesitate to contact Chris Lewis & Associates, P.C. by dialing 214-665-6930. You can also receive advice by contacting us via the contact form on the website.


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