Why Do Judges Engage In Plea Bargaining?

What role does the judge play in plea bargaining?

A judge has discretion to decide whether to accept or reject a plea agreement.

To make that decision, the judge evaluates whether the punishment is appropriate in light of the seriousness of the charges, the defendant’s character, and the defendant’s prior criminal record..

What is the main reason that judges engage in plea bargaining?

Reducing the number of cases going to court. Sometimes, it is easier for a prosecutor to offer a plea bargain than take a case to court. After all, the court system is already overcrowded. Judges will accept plea bargains to reduce the burden on the court too.

Why you should never take a plea bargain?

Keep in mind: A guilty or no contest plea is considered establishment of your guilt, and the conviction will go on your criminal record. You may lose certain rights or privileges, such as the right to vote, or to own firearms. You may also lose your right to appeal by entering into a plea bargain.

Why is it more convenient for a plea bargain?

One of the primary reasons that defendants agree to plea bargains is simple anxiety. If a case goes to trial, they might get off — but they also might get the maximum sentence. … The most common form of plea bargain, a reduction in the severity of the charge, is a great benefit to a defendant.

When should you accept a plea bargain?

They may try to convince you it is in your best interest to accept a deal on their terms or risk being charged with a more serious offense and face harsher penalties. But plea bargains are sometimes offered because evidence against you is flimsy and the prosecutor believes they might lose at trial.

Are plea deals good or bad?

The Pros of Plea Bargaining If you can have some of your charges reduced or dismissed, you may possibly avoid a lengthy prison sentence and hefty fines. Plea bargaining may also result in a quicker final decision from the judge and jury and can give you a greater sense of certainty.

Who decides a plea bargain?

Who Decides Whether to Accept the Plea? The decision about whether to accept the plea bargain ultimately rests with the client. For practical purposes, however, defense counsel often urge defendants to accept deals, convincing them they’ll get a much harsher sentence if they go to trial (and they’re often right).

What is the downside of plea bargains?

There are important disadvantages to plea bargaining as well: Defendants are sometimes pressured into waiving the constitutional right to trial. In some cases, the defendant risks going to jail for a crime he or she didn’t commit. … Prosecutors sometimes offer plea bargains to extend a case against the co-defendant.

What happens when you don’t take a plea deal?

If the defendant refuses to enter a plea—or to even speak—then the judge will typically enter a not guilty plea on his or her behalf. … Someone who persistently refuses to plead may very well end up in trial, because a plea bargain is obviously out of the question.

Do judges read letters?

The judge will not read your letter and will send it to the opposing party/attorney. Such a letter is known as an ex parte communication.

Why is it better to plead guilty?

In exchange for pleading guilty, the criminal defendant may receive a lighter sentence or have charges reduced. Additionally, pleading guilty avoids the uncertainty of a trial. Juries can be unpredictable. Prosecutors may uncover additional evidence that can make it more likely for a jury to convict the defendant.

What are the pros and cons of a plea bargain?

However, they must also be aware of the disadvantages.Advantages. Here are a few of the advantages for criminal defendants who accept a plea bargain:Lighter Sentence. … Reduced Charge. … The Case Is Over. … Disadvantages. … Avoiding Problems with Prosecution’s Case. … No “Not Guilty” Result. … Possibility of Coercion.More items…

Who gets the maximum benefit from plea bargaining?

For most defendants, the principal benefit to plea bargaining is receiving a lighter sentence for a less severe charge than might result from a conviction at trial.

Is plea bargain a conviction?

A Plea Bargain is a Guaranteed Conviction The primary reason prosecutors plea bargain is simply that it’s a guaranteed conviction. By contrast, the outcome of a criminal trial is uncertain and unpredictable, even when the evidence against a defendant is strong.

Is it better to take a plea or go to trial?

Having a guilty plea or a no contest plea on the record will look better than having a conviction after a trial. This is partly because the defendant likely will plead guilty or no contest to a lesser level of offense or to fewer offenses.

Do innocent people take plea deals?

Innocence Project and Members of Innocence Network Launch Guilty Plea Campaign. Innocent people are pleading guilty to crimes they did not commit. In nearly 11% of the nation’s 349 DNA exoneration cases, innocent people entered guilty pleas. … In felony cases, those plea deals can still result in prison sentences.

How do I get a better plea bargain?

Consider a plea deal offered by the prosecution.Be realistic. If your case is weak, don’t expect a dismissal or a great plea deal. … Be flexible. If the prosecutor offers a plea deal that isn’t as good as you had hoped for. … Don’t give in too quickly. Plea bargaining is a negotiation. … Propose alternatives.

What are the three different types of plea bargaining?

There are three basic kinds of plea bargains. Charge bargaining is an agreement where the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge so that greater charges will be dropped. Sentence bargaining is when the defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for a lighter sentence.