Sometimes, individuals who are charged with a crime may receive an offer of a reduced criminal charge and punishment if they agree to plead guilty to this charge. This process is known as plea negotiation and the offer is usually arranged through the individual's criminal defense attorney and the prosecution. However, not all areas of a criminal case can be negotiated. So here is a brief look at the three main areas of a plea negotiation.
One of the components of a criminal case that can be negotiated is the actual prison sentence. In this area, the prosecution usually agrees to a reduced sentence for the accused if he or she agrees to plead guilty to the main criminal charge. This type of negotiation helps both sides since the defendant will spend less time in jail while the prosecution doesn't need to go through a full trial in order to prove its case.
Another area of a criminal case that can be negotiated is the criminal charge itself. This is the most common type of negotiation and it can be proposed by either the defendant's criminal defense attorney or by the prosecution. What usually happens is that the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a less serious charge and the prosecution agrees to dismiss one or more of the most serious charges the defendant is facing.
The last and most unusual area of plea negotiation is fact bargaining. Here, the defendant admits to specific facts relating to their case, and in return the prosecution agrees not to introduce certain other facts during the trial. By agreeing to this, the prosecution wins because it does not have to prove the facts that the defendant agrees to during the trial, while the defense wins because other, perhaps more damaging facts, are not bought into the trial.
It's important to remember that the process of plea negotiation usually occurs over the phone between the prosecution and defense or in the prosecution's office. However, any Maryland resident who is facing criminal charges may want to speak with a criminal defense attorney in order to learn how plea negotiation may benefit them and their situation.
Source: criminal.findlaw.com, "Plea bargaining: areas of negotiation", Accessed August 28, 2016