While almost everyone is familiar with a plea deal, many don’t realize that there are actually three aspects of one that can be negotiated. This includes the facts, charge and sentence.
Fact bargaining is one of the most uncommon types of negotiation that takes place. It involves a defendant stipulating, or admitting, that certain aspects of the prosecution’s case are accurate. A defendant may concede that some facts that a prosecutor intends to present at trial actually occurred as part of an agreement to ensure that others aren’t introduced into evidence.
Perhaps the most common type of plea negotiation that takes place is charge bargaining. It generally involves a prosecutor offering to reduce or dismiss some of the more serious offenses that a defendant has been charged with in exchange for them agreeing to plead guilty to lesser ones. Prosecutors tend to offer deals such as this to avoid the risk of losing if they take the case to trial.
Another aspect of criminal cases that is often addressed via a plea deal is sentencing. It’s commonplace for a defense attorney to ask a prosecutor to sentence a defendant according to what’s acceptable for the lesser crime that they’re pleading guilty to as opposed to one associated with a more serious one.
A prosecutor isn’t under any obligation to negotiate with a defendant or their attorney to make a plea deal. A judge is allowed to reject any agreement that the prosecutor and defendant make at their own discretion.
When a defendant agrees to a plea deal, they essentially concede that the facts that have been introduced in the case are accurate and voluntarily waive their right to a trial in the matter. You should consult with a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney before you discuss your alleged offenses with police or prosecutors to make sure that you understand your rights in your case.