Prosecutors indicting an individual of a felony offense sometimes file several charges to build a substantial profile. To reduce some of the allegations, an individual may have an opportunity to enter into a plea bargain with the court.
Under certain conditions, a plea bargain may help an individual avoid or reduce a sentence of jail time. The prosecutor’s evidence, however, influences the possibility of negotiating a deal. Depending on the offense, penalties may still include probation, restitution and a fine.
What are some benefits of a plea bargain agreement?
Most individuals motivated by a plea deal take into consideration how it could help them avoid or minimize jail time. The benefits to the legal system, however, include reducing the time and money spent on a jury trial. When contesting a prosecutor’s evidence during a trial does not change a defendant’s outcome, the court has wasted precious resources.
As described by the American Bar Association, a plea bargain is a private matter in which a prosecutor exchanges several of the defendant’s charges for a lesser offense. Accepting a guilty plea to a lesser charge may result in a lenient sentence; a judge, however, must approve it.
The negotiation process generally allows the case to resolve quickly. Both the prosecutor and defendant could move forward with obtaining an acceptable resolution for each side.
What types of charges can a plea deal reduce?
Most federal felony offenses qualify for an agreement or reduction in a charge or sentencing. A Tennessee resident, for example, successfully negotiated a plea bargain while facing charges totaling 70 offenses.
The charges faced by the defendant included money laundering, theft and insurance fraud. As reported by NewsChannel 5, the court dismissed 57 charges in exchange for her pleading “no contest” to 15 counts of forgery and fraud charges.
The plea deal allowed the defendant to avoid incarceration. Her sentence, however, included eight years of probation and 300 hours of community service. A judge ordered her to pay a fine of $10,000 and submit to random drug tests.