Plea bargaining, or negotiating a plea deal, takes place when both parties to a criminal case come to an agreement outside of the court. Many criminal cases in Silver Spring are resolved in this manner, as it often spares both parties the uncertainty involved in going to trial. Though many Maryland residents accused of felony charges may want to fight the charges in court, it is possible that the case the prosecution has gathered against them is overwhelming or that the penalties associated with another conviction may be very high. This may convince the accused to consider agreeing to a lighter sentence and lighter fines in exchange for something else.
The most common type of plea is negotiating over the charges. In charge bargaining, the specific charges levied against the accused are negotiated. Typically, the prosecutor agrees to dismiss higher or a number of charges the defendant will face at trial in exchange for the accused pleading guilty to a lesser charge.
Sentences can also be negotiated. Rather than lessen the charges, sentence pleas focus on reducing the sentence the accused will face for the charges they are facing. This is beneficial for the accused because it means they spend less time incarcerated, and once released they have the opportunity to become a productive member of society again.
Depending on the situation, fact bargaining can also take place. This is highly unusual, but it is a tactic defense attorneys can employ to ensure certain facts are not brought into evidence. This means the accused admits to certain facts of the case, so the prosecution does not have to prove them separately, under the promise that certain other facts will not be introduced in court. This could be the case if there is certain damaging evidence the defense would not want to bring into the trial.
There are a number of factors to consider when going through the criminal justice system and protecting one’s rights. Lawyers employ a number of strategies to fight for those accused of committing a crime in Maryland and it may be beneficial for someone facing felony charges to consider consulting an attorney for guidance.
Source: FindLaw, “Plea bargaining: Areas of negotiation,” Accessed on May 17, 2016