If you are going through Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system, it is almost guaranteed that the prosecution will offer you a plea deal. Plea deals can potentially benefit both the prosecution and the defense, as they save the hassle and risk of going to trial.
Typically, three different areas of negotiation exist concerning plea bargains. As per FindLaw, fact bargaining is the most rare, while sentence and charge bargaining are quite common.
What is fact bargaining?
Not all courts allow fact bargaining. A fact bargain involves the case still going to trial. However, with a fact bargain the prosecution agrees to withhold certain facts from the jury. In response, the defendant agrees to admit certain other facts pertinent to the case. Again, fact bargaining is extremely rare.
What are charge and sentence bargaining?
On the other hand, charge bargaining is extremely common. The prosecution is most likely to offer you this kind of plea bargain; this is the type of plea bargain that comes to mind for most people when they think about the term. Essentially, the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for not going to trial for the more serious charge. Pleading guilty to manslaughter in order to avoid murder is the quintessential example.
Sentence bargaining is very similar to charge bargaining, only that the charge remains the same. In the prior scenario, the defendant would agree to plead guilty to murder in exchange for a reduced sentence. It may be advantageous for you to accept a plea bargain, and it may not be: it depends on the details of your case.