During a criminal case the defendant can accept a plea bargain deal with the prosecutor. This deal means that the defendant agrees to enter a certain plea usually exchange for a lesser sentence. Plea bargaining is common in the United States of America during criminal cases. This happens after all bail hearings are complete and trial dates are set. Entering into a plea bargain in many instances avoids a lengthy and stressful court case.
Sometimes the prosecution can reach an agreement with the defendant to agree to plead to a lesser charge in exchange for a dismissal of the other charges, or to get a lesser sentence. Sometimes an agreement will be met where a defendant will plead guilty to the original charges, in exchange for a lesser sentence. This is not very common but it does happen.
For prosecutors the plea bargain means a speedy end to the case and avoiding going to trial. If a case goes to trial the prosecutor has a big job to prepare all of the documents and evidence to prove the guilt of defendant. The prosecution during a case will often be pushing for the harshest penalty possible for the crime that was allegedly committed. Plea bargain deals means that the prosecutor gets the guilty plea, but often for a lesser charge. It also means that the prosecutor does not have to put all of the effort and energy into a trial.
The plea bargain offers a tricky situation for defending lawyers. On the one hand then want to get the best possible outcome for their client. Accepting a plea bargain is settling for an outcome that might not be the best possible one for their client. However, accepting a plea bargain ensures that the lawyer maintains a cooperative relationship with the prosecutor. This cooperative working relationship is important for future cases.
For people charged with committing a criminal crime the plea bargain can be an attractive option. The plea bargain offers an alternative to going to trial. The defendant can accept a plea bargain to plead guilty to a lesser charge. This is especially attractive if there is a high likely hood they would be sentenced with a higher charge if the case went to trial. However, instead of going to trial to prove their innocence and to be set free, the defendant is admitting guilt on a lesser charge and accepts prison time or a fine.