plea bargain

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plea bargain

n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead "guilty" or "no contest" to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the charges, dismissal of some of the charges, the prosecutor's willingness to recommend a particular sentence, or some other benefit to the defendant. Sometimes one element of the bargain is that the defendant reveal information such as location of stolen goods, names of others participating in the crime, or admission of other crimes (such as a string of burglaries). The judge must agree to the result of the plea bargain before accepting the sentence. If he does not, then the bargain is cancelled. Reasons for the bargaining include a desire to cut down on the number of trials, danger to the defendant of a long term in prison if convicted after trial, and the ability to get information on criminal activity from the defendant. There are three dangers: a) an innocent defendant may be pressured into a confession and plea out of fear of a severe penalty if convicted; b) particularly vicious criminals will get lenient treatment and be back "on the street" in a short time; c) results in unequal treatment. Public antipathy to plea bargaining has led to some state statutes prohibiting the practice, but informal discussions can get around the ban. (See: plea, cop a plea)

References in periodicals archive ?
There is concern that widespread use of DPAs and NPAs may empower prosecutors to extract concessions beyond what some companies would face if prosecutors were instead left with no alternative to a plea agreement or trial other than non-action.
The 19-page plea agreement says: "The defendant agrees to furnish to the office all documents and other material that may be relevant to this investigation.
para]]BOSTON, June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- PSD has proposed legislation to the US Senate Judiciary Committee to address misleading language that federal prosecutors often include in plea agreements concerning appellate waivers.
The court documents do not explain what happened with the additional $225,000 mentioned in her 2013 plea agreement.
As part of the plea agreement, the Company will be subject to unsupervised probation for two years, during which time the Company has agreed that it will commit no further criminal violations of federal, state, or local laws or regulations and continue to implement its comprehensive Environmental Management System (EMS) in a continuing effort to detect and deter future violations.
Rand apparently didn't read the plea agreement he signed and claims his court-appointed attorney misinformed him about its terms.
Kwiatkowski also infected patients at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, the VA Medical Center in Baltimore and Hays Medical Center in Kansas, according to the plea agreement signed by Kwiatkowski and his attorneys July 18.
As mandated in the plea agreements, NFWF has begun consulting with natural resource management agencies in each of the five Gulf States and with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.
Under the plea agreement, ASP admitted to one felony count for failure to meet the requirements of its wastewater pretreatment permit.
4 billion from a recently approved plea agreement between BP and the Justice Department.
District Judge Jim Moody doesn't have to follow the guidelines, but our expert says the recommended sentence under the terms of the plea agreement is likely to be 21-27 months in prison.
Initially, he had entered into a plea agreement that would have required him to cooperate in the ongoing criminal probe.