Plea bargains are a crucial part of the criminal justice system. A plea deal can help expedite your case so you can get the matter behind you and carry on with your life. Plea bargains can also be beneficial to the prosecution. They guarantee them a result.
However, not all plea deals are created equal. Thus, before deciding whether a plea deal is right for you or not, it’s crucial that you understand exactly how it works as well as the different types of plea deals available:
This is the most common type of plea bargain. A charge bargain happens when you agree to plead guilty to a lesser crime than what you were originally charged with. For instance, if you were originally charged with DUI, you may plead guilty to drinking alcohol in a vehicle instead. This is a less serious offense per Maryland’s “Open Container” laws.
A sentence bargain involves pleading guilty to what you were originally charged with in exchange for a less severe punishment. For instance, if you are charged with drunk driving, you may plead guilty to this in exchange for a fine rather than a harsher punishment like jail time.
This is the least common type of plea bargain. It happens when the prosecution keeps certain facts of your case from the official court proceedings on the condition that you admit to other facts of the crime in question.
A plea deal has its share of pros and cons. Understanding how plea deals work can help you make an informed decision when settling your case via a plea bargain.