Memphis residents who have been accused of a crime may find the criminal justice system confusing and scary. When a person is convicted of a crime, often the convictions do not come from a trial but from plea negotiations with the prosecution. A defendant who wishes to negotiate a plea bargain has three things they can discuss with the prosecution.

One type of plea bargaining is a charge bargaining. This is where the defense and prosecution negotiate the specific charges of the crime that was committed. Often times the defense can negotiate a lesser charge if the defendant agrees to plead guilty. For example, a charge of murder might be negotiated to manslaughter.

A second type of plea bargaining is sentence bargaining. This is where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to the crime and the prosecution then gives them a lesser sentence. This can help avoid trial and allow the defendant to have a shorter sentence.

The third type of plea bargaining is fact bargaining. This is where the defendant admits to certain facts and the prosecutor agrees to not introduce other facts. There are three components that must be met for a plea bargain. These are for the defendant to know the waiver of his rights, the waiver of rights must be voluntary, and there must be facts to support the charges that the defendant is facing.

A person who is facing a criminal charge may want to speak with a legal professional skilled in criminal defense. An attorney can review the charges and negotiate with the prosecution while protecting the defendant’s legal rights.

Source: FindLaw, “Plea bargaining: Areas of negotiation“, accessed on April 13, 2015