Even if a prosecutor's case against a defendant is strong, it is possible
for the defense to obtain a plea bargain. This means that iif the defendant
agrees to enter a guilty plea to a crime, the prosecution agrees to recommend
a specific setence, most often reduced penalties.
If a plea deal is reached at the early stages of a criminal case, the defendant
avoids having to go to trial and risk serving the maximum penalties. The
courts typically favor plea deals due to the high caseload volume throughout
the country and the amount of money it states the state in resources.
Courts use the following terms to describe different forms of plea bargaining:
Charge bargaining – The defendant pleads to a crime that’s less serious than
the original charge, or less serious than the most serious charges.
Sentence bargaining – The defendant takes a guilty or no contest plea after the sides
agree what sentence the prosecutor will recommend.
Fact bargaining – The defendant pleads in exchange for the prosecution’s stipulation
that specific facts led to the conviction, in return for an agreement
not to introduce other facts into evidence.
Plea bargaining often takes place at virtually any stage in the criminal
justice process. Plea deals can be reached shortly after a defendant is
arrested and before the prosecution files criminal charges. Deals may
also be struck as a jury returns to a courtroom to announce its verdict.
Lastly, plea deals are sometimes struck after a defendant is convicted
while a case is on appeal.
Although most types of crimes are eligible for plea bargaining, certain
types of cases are not in California. Felonies invloving violence, sexual
assault, and firearm use, as well as DUI, do not allow plea baraging.
If you have been arrested for a crime in Ventura County,
schedule a free consultation with our
Santa Barbara criminal defense lawyer at
Appel & Morse today.