Our clients often wonder what "plea bargaining" means. A plea bargain is an agreement reached in a criminal case between the prosecution and the defendant, where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for a concession from the prosecution.
The concession can be many different things. It could be the promise to make a certain sentencing recommendation to the judge, agreeing to dismiss some charges in exchange to a plea on the remaining charges, or a promise to not file other charges. A plea bargain can be almost any negotiated settlement of the case.
The reason that a defendant or prosecutor might want to enter into a plea bargain is to obtain a greater degree of certainty. With trial there is always uncertainly, in that by definition one party will win and the other will lose.
A defendant may wish to avoid a trial and an uncertain outcome in exchange for pleading guilty and a more lenient sentence. A prosecutor, similarly, may seek to avoid a trial in order to ensure a conviction. That prosecutor may offer a lighter sentencing recommendation in order to ensure a conviction.
Both parties may wish to avoid putting themselves or their witnesses through the stress of a trial, and the vigorous cross-examination of opposing counsel.
At Newton & Hall we understand that in some cases a plea bargain may present advantages, while in other cases it may not be what our client is interested in. It is usually in our client's interest to at least investigate the option of a plea bargain, even if we do not end up accepting one.
Call us today at (253) 867-2675 to arrange for a discreet consultation with our lead criminal defense attorney at our Kent office.