No matter what crime the courts are charging you with, it is likely that a plea bargain will be a piece of your journey through the criminal justice system. Whether or not it is smart for you to agree to the plea bargain or if you should not depends on the details of your case.
However, there are three main general areas of negotiation for plea bargaining. According to FindLaw, these areas are charge, sentence and fact.
What is charge bargaining?
Of all kinds of plea bargaining, it is most likely that the prosecution will offer you a charge bargain. A charge bargain is where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a less-serious charge in order to avoid going to trial over a more serious one. A textbook example of a charge bargain is the prosecution offering the chance for the defendant to plead guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid a murder trial.
What about sentence and fact bargaining?
Sentence bargaining is very similar to charge bargaining. The main difference is that there is no reduction in the actual charge itself. So, in the above example, the defendant would plead guilty to the murder charge but receive a lesser sentence as compared to what he might serve if he went to trial for murder and the jury found him guilty.
Fact bargaining is the most unusual variety of bargaining. In fact, not all courts even allow fact bargaining. Fact bargaining is when the defendant agrees to admit to certain parts of the prosecution’s case in exchange for the prosecution not revealing other facts.