Plea Bargaining

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Plea bargaining in the criminal justice system is an issue viewed in various ways based on the individual=s role in the judicial process. Plea bargaining may be beneficial to the rightfully accused allowing them a lighter sentence; however, if wrongfully accused, it could cost an innocent person their freedom. A plea bargain is an agreement in a criminal case where the prosecutor and the defendant arrange to end the case against the defendant before it goes to a judge or jury trial, but it must always have the courts= approval. A general description of the overall plea bargaining process is that the accused pleads guilty to a more minor offense than charged or to a smaller number of offenses than charged, in exchange for a more lenient sentence or fine. Plea bargaining agreements can have several different forms= prosecutions, among them are, charge bargaining, sentence bargaining, and count bargaining. In charge bargaining, the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a reduction of the charges. Depending on the seriousness of the initial charge, the only one who stands to gain from charge bargaining is the defendant or the accused because in some instances it can mean the difference between life and death. In sentence bargaining, the defendant pleads guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence, which may include a shorter prison term, probation, a counseling program, or be placed in a rehabilitation center.

Count bargaining is where a person can be charged with multiple counts, either for committing multiple crimes or for different aspects of a single crime. Count bargaining allows the defendant to plead guilty in exchange for a reduction in the counts against him or her. Count bargaining and sentence bargaining are somewhat similar. If a person is convicted of multiple crimes, the prison term is calculated by combining the attendant sentence of each count, and if a count is dropped, so is the time to be served with it, which can be more beneficial to...
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